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Cornell University Library 

The secret of 

mil mi mil mil inn mi hi" inn i ■■■"■ IMI 

3 1924 031 263 449 






Gospel Trumpet Company 

Anderson, Indiana 

Copyright, 1912, by 



BOOKS in almost countless numbers have been 
written on the subject of prayer, and yet there 
are justifiable reasons for adding another to 
the list. 

There is an instinctive inclination in people who know 
God, or know about him, to call upon him for help in 
times of deep distress or approaching calamity, even 
though they may not often do so under more favorable 

Those who have yielded themselves to the Lord, and 
those who are seeking to know his love, have a longing 
desire to know how to approach him, and how to pray 
in order to have a knowledge that he hears and will 
answer. The import of this volume is to meet that 
demand by enabling the reader to form a more intimate 
acquaintance with the Lord, and to know better how 
to enter into a holy and sacred communion with him. 

By looking back through the annals of time, and 
noting what others have been able to accomplish through 
prayer, one is given an inspiration of faith and encour- 
agement, in like manner, to make use of the means 
within his reach, and appropriate the promises of God 
so as to derive the proffered benefits. 

A number of the prayers — both long and short — 
recorded in the Bible are given that the reader may, by 


6 Preface 

considering the situation and conditions under which 
they were offered, be able to know better what to do 
when placed under similar circumstances, and by the 
accompanying instructions to be able to form a prayer 
into words, mingled with faith, that will peach the 
throne and bring an answer. 

The scriptural references are given to aid in a further 
study of the subjects mentioned. In various chapters 
is to be found a repetition of scriptures and prayers, 
also, reference made to persons and circumstances pre- 
viously noted. These repetitions have been purposely 
made in order to make the respective chapters complete 
within themselves, as a book of this nature is often read 
by the selection of separate chapters rather than con- 
tinuously from beginning to end. 

If, through what is herein written, the reader is 
enabled to better know how to pray and exercise faith 
in God, that he might receive the needed benefits and 
blessing promised in the Word, the author will feel that 
his efforts have not been in vain. 

Yours in Him, 

Anderson, Indiana. 



i. Prayer 9 

2. To Whom Prayer is Offered 13 

3. Who Should Pray 16 

4. When and Where 19 

5. Position of Body 23 

6. Demonstrations and Noise 27 

7. Earnestness " 34 

8. Weeping 37 

9. Secret Prayer 41 

10. Prevailing Prayer > 45 

11. Importunity 52 

12. How to Pray for Your Own Needs 57 

13. Agreement in Prayer for One Another 62 

14. Supplication in Behalf of Others 65 

15. Petitions for Temporal Needs 68 

16. The Sinner's Prayer 72 

17. The Petition of the Outcast 80 

18. How the Discouraged Can Get Help 83 

19. How to Obtain Help in Time of Trouble 89 

20. Opening the Windows of Heaven 92 

21. Long and Short Prayers 98 

22. To Those Who Pray and Receive No Answer 101 

23. Why Some Prayers Are Not Answered 103 

24. How to Get an Answer 105 

25. The Prayer of the Patriarchs 109 


8 Contents 


26. Moses and Aaron 113 

27. Promise to Joshua 119 

28. Joshua in Trouble 122 

29. How the Prophets Prayed 126 

30. The Kings 130 

31. The Faithfulness of Daniel 136 

32. David and Solomon 143 

33. The Apostles 146 

34. Peter, His Weakness and Strength 150 

35. Stephen and Cornelius 155 

36. Paul, in Time of Trial 158 

37. The Prayer of the Church 163 

38. Jesus, Our Example 169 

39. Answer Promised to the Meek 173 

40. Answer Promised to the Penitent 175 

41. Promise in Time of Adversity 178 

42. Answer Delayed 180 

43. Answer Withheld 185 

44. Signs Asked for 187 

45. Hypocritical Prayers 191 

46. Vain Repetitions 193 

47. What to Say While at Prayer 195 

48. The Results 205 

49- Receiving the Reward 207 


A FEW years ago, while traveling in India, I left 
the hot plains and began the ascent of the 
Himalaya Mountains. We first reached the 
dense forest and jungle, then onward from the foothills 
wended our way along the mountain side, across gulches 
and deep ravines. Ofttimes we could look down into 
the deep chasm of the great canon below, or over a 
yawning precipice at our side, but still we went onward 
and upward until the clouds were reached. On and on 
we went through the clouds, in a drizzling rain. It was 
a dark, dreary day, as we penetrated the surrounding 
gloom, until finally we reached an altitude where we 
could look down upon the clouds, and found ourselves 
in a place where the sky above was clear and the sun 
shining in all its brilliant splendor. Having risen above 
the gloom and darkness, now far below us, our environ- 
ments were such that the sudden change caused every- 
thing to appear magnificent and beautiful. In com- 
parison, it was as a weary pilgrim along life's journey, 
beset with many trials and temptations, and pressing his 
way heavenward, prayerfully trusting for better things, 
in spirit rises above them, where the sunshine of heaven 
so enriches the soul that the trials are far below and 
only the silver lining can be seen, 


10 The Secret of Prayer 

Along the way among these mountains, occasionally 
to be seen were long white strips of cloth dangling in 
the air, one end being fastened to a bamboo pole. These 
were called prayer-flags. Upon these flags short prayers 
were written, and the people of Tibet, the borderland 
of which country we were now nearing, believed that 
as often as the flags were wafted by the wind so often 
the prayers ascended to heaven. This, of course, made 
for them a very easy way of offering up their sup- 

At an altitude of about seven thousand feet, we 
reached a city. In it was a temple surrounded by about 
forty prayer-flags, and within was a great drum-shaped 
prayer-wheel, capable of holding two or three barrels of 
prayers. This great vat, being filled with hundreds, 
probably thousands, of prayers, written upon thin fibrous 
paper, was for the convenience of the worshipers. One 
turn of the wheel gave merit of so many hundred or 
thousand prayers, ascending in behalf of the one who 
turned it. 

The heathen, ignorant of the real meaning of prayer, 
continue their worship, receiving no benefit in this world 
nor in the world to come. In order to receive the neces- 
sary benefits, one should understand and know the worth 
of prayer. 

Prayer is a devotional expression of the heart, and 
like the rising of incense, ascends to the throne of grace, 
imploring mercy, seeking help, or giving vent to the 
praise and thanksgiving of the soul. It may be spoken 
in audible tones, or may be a whisper, a gentle breathing 
of the desire of the heart, or but a fervent thought, sent 
out in petition to him who is " able to do exceeding 
abundantly above all that we ask or think," or in the 
words of the poet: 

Prayer 11 

" Prayer is the burden of a sigh, 
The falling of a tear, 
The upward glancing of an eye 
When none but God is near. 

" Prayer is the simplest form of speech 
That infant lips can try; 
Prayer the sublimest strains that reach 
The Majesty on high. 

" Prayer is the sinner's contrite voice 
Returning from his ways, 
While angels in their songs rejoice 
And cry, ' Behold, he prays ! ' 

" Nor prayer is made by man alone ; 
The Holy Spirit pleads, 
And Jesus on the eternal throne, 
For mourners intercedes. 

" O, thou, by whom we come to God, 
The Life, the Truth, the Way, 
The path of prayer thyself hath trod; 
Lord, teach us how to pray." 

Prayer, mingled with faith, brings salvation to the sin- 
ner, healing to the sick, joy to the sorrowful, and hope 
to the discouraged. It causes the enemy to flee, unlocks 
the great treasurehouse of the Lord, opens the windows 
of heaven, and brings down showers of blessings upon 
the humble Christian. 

Upon the mountain all alone, 
Or on the stormy sea, 
He sees, he knows our every need; 
He hears our earnest plea. 

When trials of life come thick and fast 
And tempests blow awry, 

12 The Secret of Prayer 

A careful vigil still he keeps 
With ever watchful eye. 

Surrounded by satanic hosts, 
Or hottest furnace glare, 
When no one else is there to help, 
He hears and answers prayer. 


To Whom Prayer is Offered 

FROM the remotest ages, there has been in man 
a tendency to reverence something of a higher 
order than himself, an inclination to worship a 
supreme being. The uncivilized and barbarous people, 
whose lives are steeped in sin and degradation, and 
whose minds are filled with superstition, have a con- 
ception of a supreme being. 

Idolaters, who bow down to images made of wood and 
stone, attempt to worship God through their idols. The 
ignorant may have no conception of anything beyond 
the image to which they bow, but the more brilliant and 
educated claim that the idol is only a mediator, as it 
were, between them and the real object of their worship. 

The ancient Greeks and Romans, notwithstanding 
their philosophy and education, implored the gods of 
mythology on important occasions and in times of 

The American Indians had great reverence for the 
" Great Spirit," and their anticipations of a " Happy 
Hunting Ground " in the future were a source of great 
consolation to them. Although they may have had no 
knowledge of salvation, their minds in some way in- 
clined toward the great ruler of the universe, whom 
they believed was able to furnish them happiness in the 
future world. 


14 The Secret of Prayer 

The Mohammedans of today believe in God, but do 
not believe that they come to him through Jesus Christ. 
They believe that Jesus Christ was a good man, but that 
Mohammed was a greater man, and that Mohammed 
was their prophet, or mediator. 

In like manner, the Roman Catholics have a form of 
worship, but worship the crucifix instead of the cru- 
cified one. They believe in Jesus Christ, but their wor- 
ship would be almost meaningless without the image of 
the cross or what is known as the crucifix. 

From the beginning of the existence of man, he was 
instructed to look to the God of Heaven for his help and 
protection. After the fall, God sent his only begotten 
Son, Jesus Christ, into the world for the redemption of 
man, and it was through him that help was received from 
the Father. Jesus said, " Verily, verily I say unto you, 
whatever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will 
give it to you. Hitherto ye have asked nothing in my 
name: ask and ye shall receive, that your joy may be 
full." John 16:23, 24. Before the coming of Jesus 
Christ, when the people desired help from God, they 
came to the prophets to have them inquire of the Lord 
in their behalf, as we read in Hebrews 1:1, 2, " God, 
who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in 
time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these 
last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath 
appointed heir of all things." Just before he ascended 
into heaven, he said to the disciples, " All power is given 
unto me in heaven and in earth." Matthew 28 : 18. He 
is still the mediator between us and the Father. 

When Paul was at Athens, he came in contact with a 
people, many of whom considered themselves far his 
superior, some of them being philosophers, who were 
ready to discuss intricate questions. Nevertheless, they 

To Whom Prayer is Offered 15 

were idol worshipers, and at the same time had an idea 
of a power superior to their idols, which they termed 
" The Unknown God." Paul took advantage of their 
inscription, " To the Unknown God," to give them a 
knowledge of the true God. His argument, given in the 
following language, was so convincing that many 
believed on the true God: 

" Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' Hill, and said, 
Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are 
too superstitious. 

For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I 
found an altar with this inscription, TO THE 
UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore you ignorantly 
worship, him declare I unto you. 

God that made the world and all things therein, seeing 
that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth in temples 
not made with hands; 

Neither is worshiped with men's hands, as though he 
needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life and breath, 
and all things; 

And hath made of one blood all nations of men for 
to dwell on all the face of the earth. . . . That they 
should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after 
him, and find him." 

It was the design of the Almighty that all men every- 
where call upon him in time of need and worship him 
through his Son, Jesus Christ, through whom the com- 
mand was given to preach the gospel to all nations. 


Who Should Pray? 

JESUS CHRIST came to save sinners. Therefore, 
it is but a natural consequence that the sinner, 
when convicted and made to realize the weight 
of his sins, would feel constrained to call upon the Lord 
in earnest prayer, as it is recorded in Isaiah 55 : 6, 7, 
" Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon 
him while he is near: let the wicked forsake his way, 
and the unrighteous man his thoughts : and let him turn 
unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and 
to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." Here, the 
sinner is told to call upon the Lord and his humble peti- 
tion will be heard. There are, to be sure, certain con- 
ditions to be met: he must come with repentance and 
and forsake his evil ways. It is then that his petition 
will be heard. 

The backslider is also invited to humble himself and 
call upon the Lord for mercy. " Come now and let us 
reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as 
scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be 
red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing 
and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land; but if 
you refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the 
sword : for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." The 
man who has wandered deep in sin, even to cursing God 
and everything that is good, when, like the prodigal son, 


Who Should Pray? 17 

he comes to himself and realizes his undone condition, if 
he will only begin to pray and humble his heart before 
the Lord, he will find the great love and mercy of God 
extended for his deliverance. 

Those who realize that they are lost should take cour- 
age and call upon the Lord in prayer. There is given in 
the New Testament a beautiful example of the love of 
God toward those who are lost in sin. Jesus tells of the 
shepherd who had ninety-nine sheep safe in the fold, but 
that one had wandered among the mountains and was 
lost. The shepherd did not worry about those that were 
in the fold, but he went out after the one that was lost, 
searching until he found it, when, with tender care, he 
returned it to the fold. In this he represents his great 
love for the one who has wandered away from the Lord 
and is lost in sin. It is that one for whom the Lord is 
still searching. He is ready to listen to its plaintive plea 
and return it safely to the fold. 

The Jewish religion was one of works. However, there 
were men and women of great faith among the Jewish 
people, and in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews are 
recorded many wonderful things wrought through faith. 
Yet, after relating the wonderful instances of the mani- 
festation of the power of God through faith in that dis- 
pensation of time, the apostle closes by saying that God 
has provided a better thing for us. 

The afflicted are instructed to pray. (James 5 : 13.) 
These afflictions may be a time of sorrow, opposition, or 
oppression of mind, soul or body. The elders are in- 
structed to pray for the sick. (James 5:14.) Verse 
sixteen says. : " Confess your faults one to another, and 
pray one for another that ye may be healed. The 
effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth 
much." All should be encouraged by the words of the 

18 The Secret of Prayer 

Psalmist, wherein he says : " God is our refuge and 
strength, a very present help in trouble." Psalms 46: 1. 
Everybody should pray. Jesus Christ himself was our 
example. He prayed; sometimes under adverse circum- 
stances, sometimes giving expression to the Father in 
thanksgiving; while at other times pleading earnestly in 
behalf of himself or the people. His words are still ring- 
ing out to a lost world : " Come unto me all ye that labor 
and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my 
yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and 
lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." 


When and Where? 

THERE is in the Word of God no rule laid down 
as to just how often a person should pray, nor 
just where the place of prayer should always 
be. There are instances, however, of those who did 
pray, and something is said about the place of prayer. 
The mention of these things may be of some benefit to 
us in deciding what we should do. It is said of Daniel 
that he prayed three times a day with his window open 
toward Jerusalem. We may go in special prayer less 
than three times or more than three times a day, and it 
is not necessary that we face Jerusalem, as in this day 
and age of the world, it would be meaningless to us to 
have our faces in that direction ; but to Daniel, no doubt, 
one of the chief subjects of prayer was that the Holy 
City might be restored to his people; furthermore, he 
was instructed to pray toward Jerusalem. 

The Psalmist prayed at morning, noon and night. 

We have in the New Testament a record of many 
times when Jesus prayed. Ofttimes he went alone into 
the mountains. Especially would he do this after some 
great manifestation of the power of God through him, in 
the healing of the sick, or the working of some great 


20 The Secret of Prayer 

miracle, such as the feeding of the five thousand. (Matt. 
14 : 23.) At one time, he took Peter, James and John up 
into the mountain to pray, and there he was transfigured 
before them. At another time, just before the important 
event of the ordination of his disciples, he went alone 
into the mountain and prayed all night. Whether in 
Gethsemane, alone on the mountain, or by the sea 
side, we find him a perfect example as a man of 

It is well to have a certain place of prayer, where we 
can be alone with God. Whether that place is in some 
secret chamber, on a mountain, in the woods, or in a 
desert place, does not matter. The place to be sought is 
where one can best pour out his heart to the Lord in fer- 
vent prayer and communion. We should not forget that 
in times of necessity prayer can be offered silently at any 
time and in any place that we may happen to be. A 
woman once told us of an experience she had on her 
way home from the city. She said that she became very 
much burdened for prayer, but having several miles to 
drive, and it being over bad road's, it was a few hours 
before she could reach home. During this time, her soul 
became more and more burdened, but she did not once 
realize that she could then and there have opened up her 
heart to the Lord in earnest prayer, so she continued to 
wait until she should arrive home, where she could enter 
into her closet and there commune with the Lord. She 
had not yet learned her privileges in silently praying to 
the Lord wherever she might happen to be. While it is 
a blessed thing to daily enter into a secret chamber, or go 
to some secluded spot to pray, yet we should not forget 
that the Lord will hear us at any time and any place that 
we may see fit to send up our petitions to the throne of 

When and Where? 21 

A few years ago, a minister of our acquaintance was 
conducting the service on Sunday, in a grove in the coun- 
try near Praise Chapel, New Pittsburgh, Indiana, and 
there was present a great concourse. Soon the sky be- 
came black with clouds and there were indications of a 
great storm of wind and rain. As the lightning flashed 
and the thunders roared and rolled, the people began to 
be very much excited, some leaving the ground to seek 
shelter. By this time the entire sky was covered with dark 
clouds and rain was beginning to fall. The minister, feel- 
ing the burden of the message which he had to deliver, 
arose and tried to pacify the people, telling them to 
remain in their seats and God would protect them from 
the rain and storm. He then dropped to his knees, and 
called upon God to turn the storm or cause it to cease, 
in order that the message of truth might be delivered to 
the people, also asking God to pacify them and remove 
their fears. He arose from his knees and requested the 
congregation to remain, assuring them that they would 
be secure in doing so. Already quite a number had 
started for home, in their wagons and carriages, going 
east, west, north and south. The minister began his ser- 
mon, and soon the clouds parted, so that not enough rain 
fell to inconvenience those who remained in their seats. 
The message went forth with the demonstration and 
power of the Spirit of the Lord, and the result was a 
mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the people; 
and many believed and turned to God. All who left the 
grounds, in either direction that they went, were drenched 
with rain, and were in a terrible storm of wind. The 
Lord's part in the matter was so convincing that the peo- 
ple, even sinners, acknowledged that it was by the power 
of God, and that the minister did not pray that prayer 
because he saw an opening in the sky, as from a human 

22 The Secret of Prayer 

point of view there was every indication of an imme- 
diate storm. 

The time and place of prayer is whenever and wher- 
ever necessity demands. God is everywhere, and is ready 
to lend a listening ear to the humble petition of those 
who call upon him. 


Position of Body 

A CERTAIN position of the body is not a criterion 
by which one may be assured that the Lord will 
answer prayer. An illustration of this is given 
in Luke 18: 11-13, where the Pharisee and publican both 
prayed while standing. The prayer of one was ignored ; 
the other answered. As they went up into the temple to 
pray, the Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself: 

" God, I thank thee that I am not as other men are, 
extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 
I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I 

We have no record that this self-important man, pray- 
ing to be seen and heard of men, ever received any bless- 
ing or answer to his prayer. 

The publican standing afar off did' not lift up so much 
as his eyes to heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying : 

" God, be merciful to me a sinner." 

Jesus said regarding him, " I tell you this man went 
down to his house justified rather than the other: for 
every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he 
that humbleth himself shall be exalted." 

Here we learn that people may stand while praying, 
and some receive an answer while others receive no 
answer. The same may be said of any other position of 
the body while in the attitude of prayer. 


24 The Secret of Prayer 

Daniel kneeled upon his knees three times a day to 
pray and give thanks before his God. (Daniel 6: 10.) 

Solomon, kneeling before the congregation, spread out 
his hands before the Lord in prayer. (2 Chronicles 

The Psalmist said, " O come, let us worship and bow 
down : let us kneel before the Lord our maker." Psalms 

Paul kneeled down and prayed with the brethren at 
Ephesus. (Acts 20:36.) Afterwards, when his ship 
landed at Tyre, he met with the brethren, their wives, and 
their children, all of whom kneeled down on the shore 
and prayed. (Acts 21 : 5.) 

John, the Revelator, fell at the feet of the angel whom 
he was intending to worship. (Revelation 19: 10.) 

There is recorded some wonderful prayers and won- 
derful answers to prayer where people were in various 
postures before the Lord. 

At one time, when the prophet Elijah went up to the 
top of Mt. Carmel, " he cast himself down upon the 
earth, and put his face between his knees." It was while 
in that position that James says he prayed " and the 
heaven gave rain." While at this time he continued with 
importunity, yet the answer was so marvelous that the 
king had to hasten to find a place of shelter. (1 Kings 

The Israelites were defeated in their first attempt to 
take the city Ai. Joshua did not stand and pray, neither 
did he kneel, but he rent his clothes, and falling to the 
earth upon his face, prayed. 

" Alas, O Lord God, whereof hast thou at all brought 
this people over Jordan to deliver us into the hands of 
the Amorites to destroy us ? would to God we had been 
content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan! O Lord, 

Position of Body 25 

what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before 
their enemies ! For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants 
of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, 
and cut off our name from the earth : and what wilt thou 
do unto that great name ? " 

The Lord said to Joshua, " Get thee up ; wherefore 
liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned and 
they have also transgressed my covenant which I com- 
manded them." The Lord further told just what to do 
in order to be victorious. (Joshua 7:6-11.) 

A long prayer was not required on the part of Joshua : 
he was pouring out his heart in great earnestness. Such 
prayers reach the throne. 

Paul prayed with his feet fast in the stocks. (Acts 
16:24.) "And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and 
sang praises unto God." Their prayers, even under such 
adverse circumstances, were heard, insomuch that " sud- 
denly there was a great earthquake, so that the founda- 
tions of the prison were shaken : and immediately all the 
doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed." 
The result was the conversion of the jailer and his 

There are times when people are unable to stand, 
kneel, or bow down before the Lord to offer up their 
petitions. King Hezekiah at one time had such an 
experience. He was sick unto death, and was told that 
he must die. He was not able to arise, but while lying 
upon his bed " he turned his face to the wall and prayed 
to the Lord." 

" I beseech thee, O Lord, remember now how I have 
walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and 
have done that which is good in thy sight." 

His prayer was short, still it was an earnest one and 
brought an answer. The Lord sent him a message 

26 The Secret of Prayer 

through the prophet, as follows : " I have heard thy 
prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold I will heal thee: 
on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the 
Lord. And I will add unto thy days fifteen years." 
2 Kings 20: 1-6. 

Many people in oriental countries place themselves in 
a sitting posture while at prayer. In public worship, 
people should not place themselves in an unseemly posi- 
tion, but everything should be done decently and in order. 
When alone, sometimes one may take a position that 
would not be proper or becoming in the presence of 
others. No matter what the position of the body, it is 
the humbleness of the heart and reverence before God 
that enable one to be acceptable in his sight while implor- 
ing an answer to petitions or offering up thanksgiving. 
It is the humility of heart that causes one to find favor 
in his sight. 

While a person may pray in various positions, accord- 
ing to the circumstances and'place, and receive an answer 
from God, yet the more common and reverential posture 
seems to be that of bowing before him on bended knee. 
We read in Romans 14 : 10, 12, that "We shall all stand 
before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As 
I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me and 
every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one 
of us shall give account of himself to God." 


Demonstration and Noise 

MANY varied experiences can be told of the 
religious demonstrations and manifestations 
among the people throughout the world, who 
are seeking favor with God. It may be of interest to 
call attention to some of the performances practiced by 
the heathen and others who know but very little about 
the true God. 

Among the heathen nations in Africa, India, and other 
countries, there are hermits and ascetics — those who are 
seeking to be holy men. In order to become so, some of 
them sit on sharp spikes, torture and lacerate their bodies, 
and wear iron bands about their bodies and necks. Some 
isolate themselves from the people, finding a home in 
some secluded spot in the mountains, while others select 
a more public place, and there cover their bodies with 
ashes and almost starve themselves. Some hold up a hand 
or arm until the joints become stiff. This is not an over- 
drawn picture. 

In Northern Africa, I visited the place where the 
" head-choppers " have their annual meetings. During 
their religious performances, they use something like a 
hatchet, or large knife, to cut and lacerate their heads; 
while they leap about and scream at the top of their 
voices, in a most hideous manner, when celebrating their 


28 The Secret of Prayer 

feast. While in this frenzied state, a goat, or some other 
animal, is seized and literally torn into pieces, being eaten 
without taking time to dress or cook it. The blood flow- 
ing from their heads and from the animal they have torn 
to pieces presents a horrible sight. 

A number of years ago, an acquaintance, when travel- 
ing in Egypt, witnessed a similar scene during the cele- 
bration of the tenth day of a certain month of the 
Mohammedans, in commemoration of the assassination 
of " El Hassan." There was a street parade, in which 
many people took part. Certain ones would cut their 
heads with knives, while others struck their breasts with 
either their right hands or a chain. This man said that 
" Infuriated with their demonstration, they seemed, with 
every stroke, to almost crush their breasts, as they 
moaned out 'El Hassan, El Hassan, El Hassan.' Others, 
whose bodies were bare down to their waists, carried 
scourges made of small chains, with which they smote 
themselves in the most beastly and barbarous manner, 
leaving great bruises with every stroke ; and even inflict- 
ing gashes from which blood oozed forth and trickled 
down over the lower parts of their bodies." 

These performances have not only actually taken place 
during years past, but such demonstrations are still being 
made in some countries, by people who believe in God 
but know nothing about his saving-grace, as well as by 
the heathen who know nothing about God. 

In the Bible we have record of a performance of sim- 
ilar nature. This was at the time that Elijah and the priests 
of Baal gathered together on Mt. Carmel in a contest for 
supremacy. There was an agreement between them that 
they should each build an altar, putting a sacrifice upon 
it, but placing no fire thereon, as they were to call on 
their god. The one that answered by fire, consuming the 

Demonstration and Noise 29 

sacrifice, should be considered the true God. Elijah, 
knowing the power of the God of heaven, whom he 
served, was quite willing to undertake such a test or pub- 
lic demonstration, even though he was alone and on the 
other side were four hundred and fifty priests of Baal. 
Arrangements were made, Elijah giving them the first 
chance. When their sacrifice was ready according to 
agreement, they offered up a prayer, saying : " O Baal, 
hear us. But there was no voice nor any that answered. 
And they leaped upon the altar that was made. And it 
came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, 
Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is talking or he is 
pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleep- 
eth and must be awaked. And they cried aloud and cut 
themselves, after their manner, with knives and lancets, 
till the blood gushed out upon them. And it came to 
pass, when midday was past and they prophesied' until 
the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there 
was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that 
regarded." Now came the time for Elijah to call upon 
his God. He had the altar repaired, digged a trench about 
it, and filled it with twelve barrels of water. Then, when 
everything was ready and he had called the people 
together, he prayed: 

" Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it 
be known this day that thou art God in Israel and that 
I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things 
at thy word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people 
may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou 
hast turned their heart back again." 

Although he did not lacerate his body, or go through 
any unnecessary manifestations, yet Elijah prayed with 
such confidence that the Lord of heaven heard and an- 
swered. " Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed 

30 The Secret of Prayer 

the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the 
dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And 
when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and 
they said, The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the 

When Moses and the children of Israel were at the 
Red Sea, with Pharaoh's army pursuing, the Lord showed 
his protecting power by sending a cloud which over- 
shadowed them, hiding them from the enemy. However, 
the sea stretched before them. Knowing that the enemy 
was hotly pursuing, this was, no doubt, a time of great 
anxiety. Moses felt the responsibility of the moment, 
but he had great confidence in God, realizing that every- 
thing depended upon his faith, and upon God's fulfilling 
his promise. No doubt, great fear was upon the people, 
as Moses said to them, " Fear ye not, stand still, and see 
the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you 
today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye 
shall see them again no more forever. The Lord shall 
fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace." 

It is not known just how long a time elapsed before 
there was any further manifestation of the power of God, 
but the situation was such that Moses began to pray and 
cry mightily unto the Lord; and the Lord said to him, 
" Wherefore criest thou unto me ? speak unto the children 
of Israel, that they go forward : but lift thou up thy rod 
and stretch out thy hand over the sea, and divide it : and 
the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the 
midst of the sea." Exodus 14:12-16. "And Moses 
stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord caused 
the sea to go back by a strong east wind on that night, 
and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 
And the children of Israel went through the midst of the 
sea upon dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto 

Demonstration and Noise 31 

them on their right, and on their left." Thus they were 
delivered out of the hand of the enemy. 

Joshua was the leader of the Israelites when they came 
to pass out of the wilderness to go over into Canaan. 
Reaching the River Jordan, they found its banks over- 
flowed. Here Joshua did not tell them to stand still 
and see the salvation of the Lord, but had them go 
forward, and even to step into the water, believing 
that God would part the waters and enable them to pass 
safely to the other side. " The waters which came down 
from above stood and rose up upon a heap very far from 
the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan : and those that 
came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt 
sea, failed, and were cut off : and the people passed over 
right against Jericho. And the priests that bare the ark 
of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in 
the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on 
dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over 
Jordan." Joshua 3 : 16, 17. 

These instances from the Bible are mentioned for the 
purpose of showing how people of God may act differ- 
ently according to the circumstances, or even under sim- 
ilar circumstances, and yet find like favor with God. 

At the time of the taking of Jericho, we do not know 
how much prayer was offered, but the people of Israel 
followed the directions of the Lord through his servant 
Joshua ; and through their faith in the Lord and follow- 
ing his instructions they were enabled to be victorious. 
They marched around the city each day for seven days, 
blowing their rams' horns, and on the seventh day 
marched seven times, followed by the blowing of their 
horns and shouts of victory. When they had fully com- 
plied with the command of the Lord, the walls fell. 

The Pharisees were a people who claimed to worship 

32 The Secret of Prayer 

the Lord, yet knew very little about his love and the ben- 
efit of his blessings. They made great pretensions by 
offering long prayers on the street corners and in the syn- 
agogues where they could be seen of men. When fasting, 
it was their custom to go with disheveled hair and faces 
unwashed, in order to attract the attention of people 
toward their sanctimonious pretensions. Such worship 
would not bring to them the favor of God. 

A few years ago a man living in the State of Illinois 
wrote to us, requesting prayer for a certain thing he de- 
sired from the Lord. He asked that prayer be offered 
on a certain Sunday morning, stating that he had already 
secured a dry goods box, which he intended having 
placed on a street corner, where he expected to stand in 
the afternoon of that particular Sunday and proclaim 
what the Lord had done for him. The outcome of the 
matter was that the man failed to receive the expected 
answer* to his prayer. He was too much like the Phari- 
see, as he entertained a selfish motive, insomuch that his 
mind was almost entirely devoted to the study of how he 
might make a great demonstration before the people, that 
he might be looked upon as the hero of faith, and as one 
upon whom the Lord delighted to show favor. In per- 
mitting his mind to dwell upon this so much, he almost 
forgot the real humility of heart that was necessary, hav- 
ing more in mind the gaining of honor to himself rather 
than to God. His failure to obtain help was not because 
his case was such an extraordinary one for the Lord, as 
many others had received answers to prayer similar to 
that which he was hoping to receive. 

At one time the temple, which was a house of prayer, 
was desecrated by the money changers, and those who 
sold doves, making it a place of merchandise, thus taking 
away the real sanctity of the place. With indignation, 

Demonstration and Noise 33 

Jesus drove these people from the temple with a scourge 
made of small cords, overthrowing their tables, and giv- 
ing them to understand that the temple was to be re- 
garded as a sacred place unto the Lord. 

When Martha and Mary came to Jesus weeping be- 
cause of the death of their brother, he was touched with 
compassion in their behalf, insomuch that it is said, 
" Jesus wept." Then he spoke the words which caused 
Lazarus to come forth from the grave. 

Thus, the demonstration, manifestation, and noise may 
vary according to circumstances and the dispositions of 
the people. Some, when greatly blessed of the Lord, are 
inclined to leap, and shout with a loud voice; others 
laugh or sing, and still others give vent to their feelings 
with weeping for joy, while some will sit quietly enjoy- 
ing the riches of the glory of God. The quiet ones may 
be enjoying just as much of the power and grace of God 
as those who make a great noise or demonstration other- 
wise. There are extremes, which sometimes bring a re- 
proach upon the cause of Christ, that is, when people 
pretend to be filled with the power of God and begin 
leaping and shouting in a hideous manner, " falling under 
the power " and acting unseemly. Instead of being actu- 
ated by the Spirit of God, they are either hypocritical or 
under the power and inspiration of a false spirit. How- 
ever, when the people of God lift up their voices in praise 
and thanksgiving, even leaping and shouting, by the 
Spirit of God, it is a source of inspiration to encourage 
the faith and confidence of weaker ones. 



A MINISTER was once severely afflicted in body, 
and realizing there were many promises in the 
Word of God favorable for his healing, if he 
could only exercise the proper faith, he was anxious to 
be made well by the power of God. He had known of 
others being healed in answer to prayer, and had often 
prayed for himself, but still the work was not accom- 
plished. He felt that he could not preach the entire gos- 
pel without preaching on the subject of divine healing. 
However, his affliction had now become so great that 
unless he received help he would soon be unable to preach 
any part of the Word. Very often he would go alone to 
pray, but seemingly could not get enough in earnest to 
receive the needed help. Reading in the Bible of some- 
one who was in distress and cried before the Lord, he 
thought it a simple matter to undertake to cry when he 
had not the earnestness to enter into it with a feeling 
necessary to produce real weeping from the heart. Still, 
as his case was becoming serious, he decided that he 
would at least make a desperate effort to do as many 
others had done and had received help from God. There- 
fore, he put forth an effort to weep and cry before the 
Lord, soon breaking forth into a flood of genuine tears 
and weeping. God saw the earnestness of his heart, and 


Earnestness 35 

not only enabled him to weep, but touched his body and 
made him well. 

A more striking example of earnestness cannot be 
given than that of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. 
(Matthew 26:38, 39.) Two things are very noticeable 
in regard to him and his prayer : One is the great earnest- 
ness manifest, and the other is his perfect submission 
to the will of God. 

After James had been killed by the sword and Peter 
cast into prison, bound with two chains, and guarded by 
soldiers, over in another part of the city, the church gath- 
ered together in earnest prayer, and it is said they prayed 
without ceasing. The Lord took note of their earnest- 
ness, answering their petitions by sending an angel to 
open the prison doors and let Peter out, after which he 
soon made his way to the place of prayer, where he could 
tell the wonderful experience of his deliverance. 

There are people who feel they are really saved, yet 
when they undertake to pray in secret they seem to have 
no real spirit of prayer, ofttimes even falling asleep on 
their knees. There may be various causes for such a 
condition. Sometimes the enemy will try to take advan- 
tage of a person by casting a gloom or stupor over them. 
In such cases it is necessary to vehemently take a stand 
against the enemy by rebuking him and then communing 
with the Lord as with a friend. Sometimes a difficulty 
arises from some weakness of the body, or from being 
very tired on account of over-work. At such times, when 
rest is necessary, it may be wisdom not to prolong the 
efforts of prayer, but in a short petition commit every- 
thing into the hands of the Lord, and take the needed 
rest. Again, there are times when the drowsiness comes 
from over-eating, or a lack of exercise or fresh air. 

Some have difficulty in praying in public, or performing 

36 The Secret of Prayer 

the necessary duties in family worship, because of what 
they call a " man- fearing spirit." In many cases this can 
be overcome by faithfully performing the duties and 
especially by first calling upon God for grace and strength 
and then moving out in prayer when the opportunity 
offers itself. The young convert should not become dis- 
couraged at such feelings, nor attribute them to the devil, 
as it would not be strange for our weak humanity to 
assert itself on this wise. However, if possible, the devil 
may take advantage of a person's human weakness to 
prevent a performance of public duties. Feeling such 
weakness is not necessarily an evidence of a lack of sal- 
vation, nor of a perfect consecration. Paul tells us how 
he sometimes preached the gospel with fear and tremb- 
ling. We also find that the apostles, after they had been 
commanded not to speak any more in the name of Jesus, 
prayed for boldness. After praying for boldness, they 
went forth performing their duty, and God answered 
their prayers according to their petition. 



AVERY striking illustration of this subject is that 
of Jesus when nearing the City of Jerusalem. 
" He beheld the city and wept over it." Then 
he told of the great desolation that was to come upon 
the city. Again, we hear him saying, " O Jerusalem, 
Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them 
that are sent unto thee : how often would I have gath- 
ered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood 
under her wings, and ye would not ! Behold, your house is 
left unto you desolate : and verily I say unto you, ye shall 
not see me, until the time shall come when ye shall say, 
Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." 
Luke 13:34, 35- 

Kings, prophets, and priests wept before the Lord 
when they saw coming upon the people great calamities 
which none but the hand of the Lord could hinder. Ezra, 
after being awakened to the condition of the people of 
Israel, because of their disobedience to the Lord, rent his 
garment and fell upon his knees, and spread out his hands 
unto the Lord and said, " O my God, I am ashamed and 
blush to lift up my face to thee, my God : for our iniqui- 


38 The Secret of Prayer 

ties are increased over our head, and our trespass is 
grown up unto the heavens. . . . O Lord God of Israel, 
thou are righteous : for we remain yet escaped, as it is 
this day: behold, we are before thee in our trespasses: 
for we cannot stand before thee because of this." Ezra 

" Now when Ezra had prayed and when he had con- 
fessed, weeping and casting himself down before the 
house of God, there assembled unto him out of Israel a 
very great congregation of men and women and children : 
for the people wept very sore." Ezra 10: 1. 

There are people who become almost too hard-hearted 
to weep. Again, there are those who have hardened 
themselves through habit, and have so learned to control 
themselves against giving vent to their feelings that 
years of such practice has made it difficult for them to 
shed tears, even when their hearts seem to be almost 
breaking, as it were, because of sorrow or a burden of 
some kind. To some, it would seem that such people 
have no feeling, when the truth of the matter is that 
ofttimes their sorrow is deeper than that of those who 
can readily give vent to their feelings with weeping and 
wailing. Such people generally feel that it would be a 
wonderful relief could they only break forth with a flood 
of tears. Again, there is another class of people who are 
governed largely by affectation. They can, almost any 
time, at a word, have tears trickling down their cheeks, 
and are apparently much broken up in spirit, when it is 
scarcely anything more than force of habit through af- 
fectation, or a habitual lack of exercising control over 
their feelings. Such tears are sometimes called " croco- 
dile tears," and such weeping has but little weight in the 
sight of the Lord. They are not prompted in the same 
manner as were the tears of Hezekiah, of which the 

Weeping 39 

Lord took note, when the king in his distress called 
upon God. 

While it is a good thing to occasionally get into that 
earnestness in communion with the Lord where we can 
weep before him, yet tears and weeping are not always 
required in order to have faith in God, and to receive an 
answer to prayer. However, a tenderness may be culti- 
vated in regard to such things in the same manner as in 
the instance given in the first chapter of second Peter, 
wherein the apostle gives the following advice : " And 
beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue ; 
and to virtue knowledge ; and to knowledge temperance ; 
and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 
and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly 
kindness charity. For if these things be in you and 
abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor 
unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." 
A cultivation of these qualities will enable a person to 
have his lacks supplied on the line of tenderness and com- 
passion, and also to have the necessary control of his 
feelings before others and before the Lord. While it is 
necessary to make an effort to cultivate and control the 
feelings in order to manifest greater tenderness, or to 
avoid affectation, yet a person should act naturally, or in 
other words, be himself and not someone else. He 
should be where he can properly give vent to his feelings 
in the Spirit of the Lord and not quench the Spirit; yet 
at the same time be governed by the laws of propriety, 
according to the place and circumstances. 

It is written in the Word of God concerning Hannah, 
who was childless and very much desired a son, " And 
she was in bitterness of soul and prayed unto the Lord, 
and wept sore." i Samuel i : 10. She continued praying 
before the Lord, and "Spake in her heart; only her lips 

40 The Secret of Prayer 

moved, but her voice was not heard." However, the Lord 
heard and answered her prayer, the son that was after- 
ward born becoming the great prophet Samuel. 

" They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that 
goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall 
doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves 
with him." Psalms 126 : 5, 6. 


Secret Prayer 

IT is when people often come in close contact with 
each other that they become near and dear friends, 
and there exists an affinity which otherwise cannot 
be realized. When they have proved, to each other's sat- 
isfaction, their loyalty and worthiness, there is an affilia- 
tion in the friendship formed, which creates confidence 
to an extent that will enable them to confide in each other 
the burden of their hearts, for counsel and consolation. 
So it is with our relationship with God. We need to 
come into close contact with him often. We need to 
become well acquainted with him, in order to gain his con- 
fidence and to have confidence in him. Frequent per- 
sonal interviews, where we can have a heart to heart talk 
with him, are what we need. There is no better way by 
which all this may be accomplished than by secret prayer. 
Jesus set us the example when he frequently went alone 
to the mountain, to a desert or solitary place to pray. It 
was there that he could, undisturbed, commune with the 
Father. He also said, " But thou, when thou prayest, 
enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, 
pray to thy Father, which is in secret; and thy Father, 
which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly." 
Matt. 6:6. 

There is a sweetness in communing with the Lord 
alone which many have never realized. In order to enjoy 


42 The Secret of Prayer 

the secret communion with the Lord, and receive the nec- 
essary benefits, one should talk to him as he would to his 
most confidential friend. It is when entirely alone that 
the heart can be unburdened, no matter what the issue — 
whether it is in time of deep trial and trouble, or of dis- 
couragements or perplexities, or whether it is only a 
heart to heart talk for wisdom and consolation. 

A few years ago, there was in attendance at a camp 
meeting in the State of Washington, a farmer who had 
been in the habit of arising very early in the morning and 
going to a certain place on his farm for secret prayer. 
There, all alone, where no one else was near to listen, he 
would pray aloud. 

While at the meeting this man found a place for prayer, 
which was within a few hundred yards of the many tents 
that were pitched on the campground. Very early in the 
morning, before the break of day, and about ten or eleven 
o'clock at night, his voice could be heard in every part of 
the grove, as it sounded forth from his place of prayer. 
It did not come in soft tones, but as voluminous as he 
was capable of making it in the fervor of his earnest sup- 

The people, weary with the toils of the day, were 
awakened from their slumbers and thus unnecessarily 
disturbed, because this man had not learned to adapt 
himself to the surrounding circumstances. He had not 
learned to pray quietly when necessity demanded. 

Some people do not think they can pray except they 
do so at the top of their voices. There has not been 
put forth an effort to exercise the required self-control 
demanded by the occasion and environments. 

It seems that Daniel had stated times for his secret 
devotion, and no doubt became so fervent as to forget 
his surroundings, even though he may not have been 

Secret Prayer 43 

boisterous, and perhaps was not conscious of others being 
near listening to his petitions. Nevertheless, his enemies 
knew of his time and place of prayer. 

In public is a good place to pray for others and for the 
benefit of those present, but alone with God is where per- 
sonal needs can best be presented. There, undisturbed, the 
soul is unburdened, petitions offered according to the 
needs, and the prayers mingled with the necessary thanks- 
giving. Never wait for trials to come as an occasion to 
prayer. They will come in due time. There should be a 
daily communication until one feels in his natural element 
and loves to linger in prayer until he is the recipient of an 
assurance that the Lord has heard and will guide and 
direct in the necessary undertakings. The soldier does 
not idly wait until a battle is on before he starts to pre- 
pare himself for the conflict, but he drills and practices 
each day, so that when the time comes for meeting the 
enemy he is in readiness. He must drill in such a manner 
as to be prepared for quick action, or a prolonged siege. 

There are times when prayers must be said quickly, 
and to the point, and an instantaneous faith exercised; 
while at other times, there may be a prolonged siege and 
the circumstances may be such as to require importunity 
and a steady holding up of the shield of faith against the 
enemy. A short prayer may sometimes bring an unques- 
tionable assurance to the soul of victory for the thing 
desired and yet there be a constant fight of faith for 
quite a length of time afterwards, before the thing is 
fully accomplished or a full realization of answered 
prayer experienced. 

As prayer is essential to a life of faith, it is not only 
necessary to become well acquainted with the Lord, but 
to often commune with him. In the secret chamber, or 
in some secluded spot, the Christian may win many a 

44 The Secret of Prayer 

battle against the enemy, even though the conflict may 
have been hot and fierce and of long duration. Assailed 
on every side, opposed, accused, oppressed, and almost 
crushed in spirit, weary in mind and body, the one who 
is accustomed to appealing to him, who is a very present 
help in time of trouble, flees to a place of secret prayer. 
There his heart is unburdened, the story told in child- 
like manner, help and protection implored, and soon the 
cloud is lifted and the spiritual sky is clear. The Lord 
seems to have sent an angel to strengthen his care-worn 
child, whose soul, seemingly with eagle wings, surmounts 
the difficulties and arises above them all. 

The victories won prepare the way for meeting the 
enemy with boldness, and the strength derived through 
exercise of faith in former battles has given the neces- 
sary qualifications to successfully meet the enemy in the 
hottest conflicts of the future. 

As the engine room of a great manufacturing concern 
is the place for furnishing the power for operating every 
machine in the establishment, just so the secret chamber 
is the power house of the Christian. It is there that he 
learns the will of God concerning himself, as well as 
regarding other things of interest to him, and, like the 
electrician, is able to " push the button " which will set 
the machinery in motion. 


Prevailing Prayer 

TO prevail means to gain the victory, and to pre- 
vail in prayer is to " pray through " as some 
express it — to be an overcomer. It is to get 
hold of the promises of God, and with unwavering faith, 
claim them as your own, not merely hoping that some- 
time you will gain the victory, but exercising faith that 
brings the victory now. 

It does not always necessarily require a long con- 
tinuous supplication and battle in order to gain advantage 
over the power of Satan. Sometimes a few words, accom- 
panied by definite faith, will rout the enemy or bring 
about the desire of the heart. However, when it becomes 
necessary to prolong the petitions and earnest sup- 
plications, do not give up the struggle, but take courage by 
what others have accomplished by prevailing upon the 
Lord at times when the responsibilities were great and 
failure meant disaster. 

When the children of Israel were in battle, and the 
enemy in great numbers came against them, Moses took 
his stand upon the top of a hill, and in his hand was a rod, 
by which he had performed wonders in the sight of Israel 
previous to that time. " And it came to pass, when 
Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed ; and when 


46 The Secret of Prayer 

he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses' 
hands were heavy ; and they took a stone and put it under 
him, and he sat thereon ; and Aaron and Hur stayed up 
his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the 
other side; and his hands were steady until the going 
down of the sun. And Joshua discomfited Amalek and 
his people with the edge of the sword. And the Lord 
said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book." 
Exodus 17: 11-14. 

Sometimes there are conflicts, or battles with the enemy, 
which involve a whole congregation or many people 
scattered throughout the world, where the principal 
responsibilities rest largely upon one or two persons, 
who need the immediate aid of others to help them bear 
the burden and stand firmly at their post, as did Moses, 
while others fight valiantly against the enemy. 

At one time, when Jacob was to meet Esau with four 
hundred men, he became very much alarmed, fearing 
that Esau was coming to smite him in battle. Jacob 
undoubtedly went to the Lord in earnest prayer, and 
through his determined effort gained the victory, insomuch 
that when he met Esau they came together as brothers 
and embracing each other wept. Otherwise, a great 
battle might have ensued. God can, and will change the 
hearts of men, sweeping away enmity and differences of 
long standing, and bringing about peace. Sometimes we 
get into close places where everything depends upon an 
immediate answer to prayer, with a complete changing 
of things that are beyond our control. 

A few years ago, while we were living in Grand 
Junction, Michigan, one very windy day a messenger 
came running to my office, crying, " The barn is on fire." 
The wind was blowing a heavy gale from the west almost 
directly upon my house, which was but thirty-five feet 

Prevailing Prayer 47 

from the barn, with some smaller buildings and a high 
hemlock fence between. A few minutes later I was on 
the roof of the west wing of the house, and others were 
carrying water in pails, which I threw upon the roof, as 
there was no fire protection in the village. From the 
barn to the house there was a solid volume of flame, and 
it was only occasionally that I could ascend the roof and 
throw a pail of water between the rolling flames. While 
doing so, I was calling upon the Lord to preserve the 
house. One end and side of the building were already 
on fire, as was also a part of the roof. Soon the flames 
reached the roof of the main part of the building. One 
of the water carriers told me to come down, as there was 
no hope of saving the building. Believing that God was 
true to his word, I called for more water, hoping in some 
way to prevent the building from burning. The brother 
who had been throwing water on the main part of the 
building, could remain there no longer. People were 
carrying the furniture out of the rooms below. Again, 
I ventured to quote the promises of the Lord; "If ye 
abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what 
ye will, and it shall be done unto you." I told the Lord 
that I was abiding in him and his words abiding in me, and 
I believed his promises to be true ; and that I placed that 
building in his hands, believing that he would prevent 
its burning. Just then a brother came and told me to 
come down, informing me that the room below was on 
fire. I hesitated a moment. I knew that the outside of 
the house was on fire, and to think that fire was also on 
the inside, made it appear a hopeless case. I turned to 
the brother, and said, " No sir, bring more water." It 
seemed that my faith grasped the promise and that I had 
prevailed with the Lord. Just then the wind changed 
and began blowing almost directly south. In a few 

48 The Secret of Prayer 

minutes we had the fire under control so far as the house 
was concerned. I glanced at the house on the same lot on 
which the barn stood, and saw that it was soon to be 
enveloped in flames. I realized that if that house burned, 
with the wind in that direction, it would take our office 
building just across the street. Once more I looked earn- 
estly to the Lord, and said " Lord, save both buildings." 
Again, almost instantly the wind changed, blowing in a 
south-easterly direction, thus taking the flames half way 
between the two buildings, until the barn was completely 
consumed by the flames. I was not the only one who 
was praying, but have always believed that had I not 
stood firm in faith at that critical time the buildings 
would have burned. Sinners, who had witnessed the 
whole affair, afterwards remarked that they did not 
understand how it possibly could happen in that way. 
They said that not one out of a thousand buildings could 
escape under such circumstances. We, who were pray- 
ing, knew the secret of the matter, and have always given 
God the praise and glory. 

A few years ago, while at a camp-meeting, in Louisiana, 
one Sunday a few of the ministers were invited to take 
dinner at the home of a brother, which was only a few 
steps from the camp-ground. While there, a boy of about 
twelve years of age, who was the son of the brother we 
were visiting, fell several feet from the end of a porch, 
striking his head and shoulders on the hard ground. He 
was taken up in a seemingly lifeless condition and was 
carried into the house. As soon as he was placed upon 
a cot, seeing that he was still alive, we gathered around 
for prayer. Several prayers were offered, but there 
seemed to be no change for the better. News of the 
accident was soon spread throughout the camp, and 
people gathered to witness the scene. A physician, who 

Prevailing Prayer 49 

was in attendance at the meeting that day, being a friend 
of one of the ministers, and knowing that those present 
believed in faith and prayer, offered to come and examine 
the child without further interference in the case. He 
was permitted to do so, and found that the boy had 
received a concussion of the brain and was paralyzed. 
He pricked the child's body in several places with pins, 
but there was no flinching. He stated that there was no 
hope for the boy, and that should he live, he would be a 
paralytic and cripple for life. Brother R. H. Owens, the 
minister who had principal charge of the meeting, went 
with me into a grove near by to pray. There we earnestly 
plead with the Lord to know his will regarding the 
restoration of this child. In much earnestness we prayed, 
and finally said that if he was alive when we returned, we 
would take it for granted that it was the will of God to 
heal him. Upon our return to the house, we found him in 
the same condition as when we left. Again, we laid our 
hands on him and prayed, expecting that he would be 
raised up within a very short time, but he continued in 
the same condition. This was beyond our understanding, 
yet we believed that God would in some way raise him up 
that he might get glory out of it. Soon the people from 
the camp-ground began passing through the house as 
they would to view a corpse, until almost everyone on 
the grounds had seen him in his critical condition. He 
was not able to move any part of his body. When it 
became time for the evening service, we left the room, 
believing that God would yet glorify his name. As ser- 
vices were begun, earnest prayers were offered by the 
church, then for a short time there was a song service. 
That evening, as I arose before a large audience, and after 
reading a few texts of Scripture, began the presentation 
of a message on faith and confidence in God ; in walked 

50 The Secret of Prayer 

the boy who had suffered the accident, and, with a smiling 
countenance, took a seat in the back of the pulpit. He 
was made every whit whole. This was truly a time of 
great rejoicing, and had a wonderful effect upon the 
people, nearly all of whom had seen him while he lay 
helpless upon the cot. We could then understand why 
the Lord did not immediately restore him. It was his 
will that the people of that country, who had been oppos- 
ing the truth on divine healing, should themselves witness 
a manifestation of his power. 

In order to prevail with the Lord, it is necessary to lay 
hold upon his promises as your own. An account of the 
prayer of Elijah is recorded in the eighteenth chapter of 
First Kings, where after three and one-half years of 
drouth, Elijah went to a certain place to pray for rain. 
" And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel, and he cast 
himself down upon the earth, and put his face between 
his knees. And said to his servant, Go up now, look 
toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, 
There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times. 
And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, 
Behold there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea like a 
man's hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Pre- 
pare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop 
thee not. And it came to pass in the mean while that 
the heaven was black with clouds and wind and there 
was a great rain." 

Elijah did not begin his prayer for rain because he 
saw a great cloud in the sky, for the sky was clear. He 
did not stop praying when the servant came back and said 
there was no sign of a cloud, but continued his prayer 
until the servant had not only gone seven times but said 
that he saw a little cloud arising out of the sea, which 
appeared like a man's hand. It was then that Elijah's 

Prevailing Prayer 51 

prayer ceased, and no doubt he shouted the victory, real- 
izing he had prevailed in prayer. 

We should seek to know the will of God, and to act 
upon it. The Lord loves to help his children in time of 
need. After having learned the will of God, we should 
pray expecting him to answer according to his promise. 



THERE are recorded in the Bible a number of cases 
of importunity. To importune is to urge with 
frequent solicitation, or in other words, present- 
ing your needs so often that it becomes troublesome to the 
one to whom the petition is made, where otherwise there 
is apparently no heed given to the request or supplication. 
Importuning with the Lord is coming often to him in 
prayer for the fulfillment of the desire of our hearts 
regarding any certain matter or thing. 

In the eighteenth chapter of Luke, Jesus gives us to 
understand that it is right and proper to thus press our 
way through to victory, even though it may require fre- 
quent entreaties. 

" And he spake a parable, unto them to this end, that 
men ought always to pray, and not to faint ; saying, there 
was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither 
regarded man : and there was a widow in that city ; and 
she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. 
And he would not for a while: but afterward he said 
within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; 
yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, 
lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord 


Importunity 53 

said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not 
God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto 
him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he 
will avenge them speedily." 

At one time, Paul was desiring a certain thing from 
the Lord. He went in earnest prayer, but did not receive 
an answer. A second time he put in his petition, but 
still the Lord did not answer him; a third time he went 
in prayer, with earnest entreaties, until he did obtain an 
answer. This answer was satisfactory to him, although 
it was not exactly what he was expecting. He had been 
asking for the removal of certain things that he felt were 
a hindrance to him in his work, but the answer which 
came from the Lord was : " My grace is sufficient." 
Paul received such a blessing and consolation from this 
that it was perfectly satisfactory to him, insomuch that 
he went on his way rejoicing, knowing that whatever 
might come or go the Lord would give him an abundance 
of grace. After that he had some trying times, but the 
Lord always gave him sufficient grace to go through with 

Another thought regarding this prayer by Paul is that 
it did not seem to be the will of the Lord to deliver him 
from the persecution and suffering through which he was 
to pass for the furtherance of the gospel. Yet, the neces- 
sary help and blessings were given by the Lord, and he 
was perfectly satisfied with the answer. The thought 
we here wish to impress upon the mind is that sometimes 
the circumstances may be such that from a human stand- 
point to have certain things accomplished would seem 
best, still, God, in his great wisdom, can foresee that it 
would be better otherwise. However, it is our privilege 
to press the case until we receive a positive assurance, or 
an answer that the thing will or will not be accomplished ; 

54 The Secret of Prayer 

and should it be contrary to what we were expecting, if 
there is the proper submission on our part, to have it this 
way, or that way, according to the will of the Lord, the 
answer received will be satisfactory; and we can rely 
upon his word, which says, "All things work together 
for good to them that love God." 

Jesus at one time said, " Which of you shall have a 
friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto 
him, Friend, lend me three loaves ; For a friend of mine 
in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set 
before him? And he from within shall answer and say, 
Trouble me not : the door is now shut, and my children 
are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say 
unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, 
because he is his friend, yet because of his importu- 
nity he will rise and give him as many as he need- 
eth." Luke 11:5-8. 

There is probably not a more striking instance of 
importunity given in the Bible than that of Abraham when 
he learned that the City of Sodom was to be destroyed. 
He plead for the city, in case there might be a certain 
number of righteous people found therein. 

"And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also 
destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure 
there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also 
destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous 
that are therein ? And the Lord said, If I find in Sodom 
fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the 
place for their sakes." Abraham was not yet satisfied. 
He feared that in that great wicked city there might not 
be fifty righteous, and again he made entreaty unto the 
Lord, and said, " Peradventure there shall lack five of 
the fifty righteous : wilt thou destroy all the city for lack 
of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I 

Importunity 55 

will not destroy it." Fearing that the number mentioned 
might yet be too great, Abraham again ventured to 
implore the Lord for mercy in behalf of the people of 
that city, and said, " Peradventure there shall be forty 
found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty's 
sake." Once more Abraham presented his petition, and 
said, " Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak : 
Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he 
said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there." The thought 
of the destruction of that city and the people therein 
so weighed upon the mind of Abraham that still again he 
pressed his supplication, and said, " Behold, now I have 
taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure 
there shall twenty be found there. And he said, I will 
not destroy it for twenty's sake." 

Abraham had asked so often that he felt almost ashamed 
to come again, but he thought he would now make his 
last appeal, and then leave the results with the Lord. He 
said, " Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak 
yet but this once: Peradventure ten should be found 
there." And the Lord, touched by his earnestness and 
importunity, said " I will not destroy it for ten's sake." 
Abraham and the Lord then ceased their communication 
regarding the matter, and went their way, but alas there 
could not be found ten righteous people in the city ; but 
the Lord sent two angels to> deliver Lot and his family, 
telling them to escape for their lives, and the city was 

If the unjust judge could be moved to action by the 
oft coming of the widow, insomuch that he granted her 
request; if Paul in his third prayer received an answer 
that was satisfactory; and the friend at the midnight 
hour importuned until he received the fulfillment of his 
petition, need we despair when our first implorations 

56 The Secret of Prayer 

seemingly are ignored? Never! So long as Abraham 
made a request, the Lord stayed by him and answered 
his petitions. Take courage, importune in like manner, 
and you will find favor in the sight of the Lord. 


How to Pray for Your Own Needs 

ONE of the most necessary things in coming to the 
Lord in behalf of our own needs is to consider 
his promises, and to realize the truthfulness of 
the record which says, " The Scripture cannot be broken," 
(John 10: 35) and that "God is able to make all grace to 
abound towards you that ye always having allsufficiency 
in all things, may abound to every good work." " Now 
unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above 
all that we ask or think, according to the power that 
worketh in you." Ephesians 3 : 20. 

" Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of 
grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help 
in time of need." Hebrews 4: 16. 

If grace be the most needful thing, there is promise 
of an abundant supply, but sometimes it must be sought 
with real boldness. 

There may be times when wisdom is the principal need, 
that we may know what is most expedient and the proper 
course to pursue. To this end, we have the promise, " If 
any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth 
to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be 
given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering." 
James 1 : 5, 6. 

Sometimes people come to the Lord full of doubts 
and fears, and with but little determination or faith. 


58 The Secret of Prayer 

Their confidence in God in regard to his answering their 
prayers, is about as wavering as the waves of the sea, 
and James says " Let not that man think that he shall 
receive anything of the Lord." 

There are times when a person may not feel the spirit 
of prayer upon them. The enemy may try hard to defeat 
them and prevent them from coming to the Lord for 
having their needs supplied. For some reason, there may 
be a feeling that the Lord is far away, but there is a 
blessed promise, which is true and can be appropriated 
if one makes the proper effort. It says, " Draw nigh to 
God and he will draw nigh to you. Humble yourselves 
in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up." 
James 4: 8, 10. 

In coming to the Lord for help, we should come in 
humble submission to his will. First, know that what 
you desire is really one of your needs — something 
pleasing in the sight of the Lord for you to have — 
then you can take courage from the promise : " What- 
soever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep 
his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing 
in his sight." 1 John 3 : 22. While calling upon him, 
should it be revealed that there is something lacking 
on your part, or that there is something which you have 
been doing, that the Lord desires you to discontinue; 
or there is something you have not been doing, and 
which the Lord desires you to do, then and there should 
be made a decision to comply with his will from that 
time forth, or at the earliest opportunity. Such a sub- 
mission to the will of God will have its weight with him, 
and cause him to look down with tender compassion upon 
his humble child. 

It frequently happens that when people are calling 
upon God for personal needs, which must come through 

How to Pray for Your Own Needs 59 

the charity and liberality of others, they are made to 
realize the necessity of being charitable and liberal 
toward others ; it may be in acts of kindness, gentleness, 
deeds of mercy, or a liberality of personal means in 
helping others in time of need, or in helping in various 
ways toward the furtherance of the gospel. Many good 
Christian people have never learned the blessedness in 
giving to the spread of the gospel, or in helping the poor 
and needy. They may often have given, when oppor- 
tunity was presented, but have failed to make a practice 
of giving to such an extent that it required real self- 
denial, or of giving as unto the Lord in such a manner as 
to receive in return real blessings on account of these 
contributions and deeds of love. 

Sometimes the circumstances are such and our needs 
of a nature that there is no one to whom we can appeal 
for help, except the Lord, and in order for him to grant 
our request, it becomes necessary for him to cause cer- 
tain things out of the ordinary to take place. A few 
years ago, while in Michigan, I desired to take a train 
for the State of Indiana, where my wife was sick. I was 
intending to take an east-bound train at five o'clock in 
the evening, by which route I would be required to 
change cars at Kalamazoo, where, if on time, this train 
would arrive at the station fifteen minutes before the 
south-bound train was due on the other railroad. The sta- 
tions were about half a mile apart, giving just sufficient 
time to make the change, when both trains were on time. 
The train which I was intending to take, however, came 
from Kalamazoo, and passed through our town, going 
west, at about four o'clock, when on time, and was to 
return at five ; but on its way west, it was that evening fif- 
teen minutes late. Unless it gained that fifteen minutes, 
I was likely to miss my train on the other line, and have 

60 The Secret of Prayer 

to remain in Kalamazoo over night. This would have 
been a great disappointment to me, as well as to others. 
I began praying that the Lord might speed the train 
onward, and cause it to make up the lost time. However, 
when five o'clock came, there was no train; fifteen 
minutes passed, and no train in sight, but finally it 
arrived, being three-quarters of an hour late; and only 
twenty-nine miles to Kalamazoo. Some of my friends 
urged me to wait and take a train over another route, but 
knowing that the connection by that route was not good, 
and feeling impressed that the Lord would help me 
through in the quickest possible time, I went aboard the 
train. I began praying the Lord, if possible, to yet gain 
the time, but found it still losing. I then prayed the 
Lord to hold the train on the other road. I had scarcely 
begun praying when it seemed that I had such liberty in 
communing with the Lord, and received such an assur- 
ance that the Lord had heard and answered my petition, 
that I turned my attention to other things and did not 
worry over the situation, although the train was con- 
stantly losing time. 

When the train reached Kalamazoo, I hastened 
through the depot, and was met by a cabman. I asked 
him if the south-bound train on the other road had gone. 
He answered, "Yes, an hour ago. To what hotel shall 
I take you ? " I asked again, " Were you at the station 
when it left ? Do you know for sure ? " He said, " No 
sir, I was not there, but it is an hour past time for its 
departure." I told him to take me to the train as soon 
as possible. He laughed at me. I said, " I will pay 
you for your trouble, but I want to make that train; 
make the greatest possible haste." He drove as fast as 
possible to the other depot, and as he opened the cab 
door, and I started for the depot, he said he would wait 

How to Pray for Your Own Needs 61 

and take me to a hotel. I said, " Never mind, I am going 
on this train." I hurried to the ticket office, and make 
inquiry as to how soon I could get a train for the south. 
The agent replied, " In forty minutes." I asked, " Is it 
the regular train ? " " Yes sir," he replied. " It is late 
this evening. Just outside of the city a freight train is off 
the track, and the passenger has been delayed." Upon 
further inquiry, I learned that the passenger was delayed 
at about the time I had asked the Lord to hold the train 
on that road. Some may be inclined to think that this 
was just a happen-so, or an ordinary wreck, but I have 
never failed to give God all the glory for causing things 
to take place just as they did, in answer to prayer for 
the supplying of my present needs at that time. 


Agreement in Prayer for One Another 

IT is a blessed privilege to be able to make our wants 
known unto the Lord while alone, but sometimes 
we feel the need of having others enter into agree- 
ment with us, and in accordance with the words of the 
blessed book, where Jesus says, " Again, I say unto you 
that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any 
thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my 
father which is in heaven. For where two or three are 
gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of 

When Jesus was yet with the disciples, he would often 
pray for them, and no doubt in turn they offered petitions 
in his behalf. In the seventeenth chapter of St. John 
is a record of his supplications to the Father in behalf 
of his disciples, and not only for them, but his prayer 
was in our behalf also. He said, " Neither pray I for 
these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me 
through their word." It is through the word of the 
apostles that we are made to believe on Jesus Christ, 
therefore, his prayer was for us also. 

In the fifth chapter of James, it says, " Confess your 
faults one to another, and pray one for another, that 
ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a 
righteous man availeth much." Ofttimes our prayers for 
each other are a source of consolation and help in time 


Agreement in Prayer for One Another 63 

of need. At the family altar, or in the public congrega- 
tion, prayers may be offered up for each other of those 
present in such a way that they will draw inspiration 
therefrom, and although they may soon be separated, 
yet their agreement in prayer will be lasting. 

A few years ago, just before some missionaries were 
to start for a foreign field, about two hundred children 
of God gathered together in special prayer in their 
behalf, that God might protect them from the dangers 
of the sea, from sickness and diseases, and make them 
useful in bringing souls into the kingdom. They were 
soon to sail on the ocean, and the time of their leaving 
had been published. Thousands of people were anxious 
concerning their safety and their missionary undertak- 
ings, and in every direction prayers were going up in 
their behalf. It was my privilege to be one of the 
number of that party of missionaries. As we reached 
midocean, a heavy gale was blowing, and soon there was 
a terrible storm, which lasted for two or three days. 
The ship, although a very large one, was tossed about on 
the sea, plowing its way through here and there, rolling 
from side to side, the waves seemingly rolling mountain 
high, so that at times they swept over the top of the 
ship. Furniture and dishes were crashing about the 
rooms and cupboards. At one time an outside door on 
the deck was burst open by a heavy wave, and the water 
came pouring down the stairway and along the hall- 
ways like a river. We were locked in and not allowed to 
go on deck, for fear of being swept overboard by the 
waves. In the midst of all this, one of the missionaries 
remarked, " This ship will not go down, because there 
are a thousand prayers hooked onto it." I replied, 
" Yes, ten thousand of them." We felt perfectly secure, 
knowing the promise of Matthew 18: 19; that if only two 

64 The Secret of Prayer 

were agreed, we were safe, and where thousands were 
praying surely we were doubly safe. 

Although it was, indeed, a rough voyage, yet were we 
brought safely through, and not only this, but while in 
the foreign countries, in the midst of many dangers, 
surrounded by plague, sickness and diseases of many 
kinds, the Lord preserved us and enabled us to fulfill our 
calling. Amidst all these dangers of sea and land, we 
realized the benefits of praying for each other. 

It is not enough to pray for ourselves, but when we 
make a practice of praying for each other, we increase 
in the graces of brotherly kindness, charity and faith. 
It also helps us to realize the blessedness of the words 
of Jesus, where he said, " Ask, and it shall be given 
you ; seek, and ye shall find ; knock, and it shall be opened 
unto you." 

Supplication in Behalf of Others 

A BEAUTIFUL illustration of prayer for others is 
given in Luke 23 : 34, after Jesus had been nailed 
to the cross. He had been scourged, spit upon, 
mocked, and it seemed that in every possible way his 
enemies tried to manifest their hatred toward him, and so 
despitefully treated him, yet in the midst of this, we hear 
his humble prayer: 

"Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." 
If, under such circumstances, he could offer this kind 
of prayer for his enemies, what ought we to do when 
men revile and persecute us ? It is a lesson to us to learn 
to love our enemies. We may not love their deeds, but 
we can pity them and have a love for their souls. If such 
a prayer can be offered for enemies, under such circum- 
stances, surely it is an inspiration to us to pray for 
others in any circumstance of life. It should be an 
impetus to stir our hearts in behalf of those who stand 
in need of help, whether or not they realize their need. 
Some may have unsaved friends or relatives, who are 
very dear to them, and who are wayward and uncon- 
cerned regarding their souls; and still there may be 
others who are away from home and in need of help. 
For such, there is need of prayer by those who know 
its power. 


66 The Secret of Prayer 

We have, in the Word of God, many examples of how 
the people of God assembled to pray for each other, and 
upon departure solicited the prayers of the faithful in 
their behalf. 

It is well to have a daily prayer-list, or memorandum, 
of not only the different persons and their needs, but 
also the different things that may be burdening your 
heart, or for which you are deeply concerned. The 
forming of a habit of daily writing down the subjects 
for prayer will not only be beneficial to others, but you 
will find yourself advancing in the graces of God, and 
realize a wonderful increase in faith, thus better qualify- 
ing you to make your life one of greater usefulness. 

A story is told of a mother's prayers, as follows : 

In the year 1861, in the month of February, a ter- 
rible storm raged along the coast of England. There 
were eighty-one vessels wrecked in one bay (Hartle- 
pool). While the storm was at its height, the Rising 
Sun, a stout brig, struck on Longrear Rocks, a reef 
extending a mile from one side of the bay. She sank, 
leaving only her two top masts above the foaming waves. 

The life-boats were away, rescuing wrecked crews. 
The only means of saving the men clinging to the sway- 
ing masts was the rocket apparatus. Before it could 
be adjusted, one mast fell. Just as the rocket bearing 
the life-line went booming out of the mortar the other 
mast toppled over. Sadly the rocket men began to draw 
in their line, when suddenly they felt that something was 
attached to it, and in a few minutes hauled out on the 
beach the apparently lifeless body of a sailor boy. 
Trained and tender hands worked over him and in a 
short time he became conscious. 

With amazement, he gazed around on the crowd of 
kind and sympathizing friends. He looked up into the 

Supplication in Behalf of Others 67 

weather-beaten face of an old fisherman near him, and 
asked : 

"Where am I?" 

" Thou art safe, my lad." 

" Where is the Captain ? " 

" Drowned, my lad." 

"The mate then?" 

" He's drowned, too." 

"The crew?" 

" They are all lost, my lad ; thou art the only one 

The boy stood overwhelmed for a few minutes; and 
then raised both hands, and cried in a loud voice, " My 
mother has been praying for me ! " and then he dropped 
on his knees on the wet sand, and hid his sobbing face 
in his hands. Hundreds heard that day this tribute to 
a mother's love, and to God's faithfulness in listening 
to a mother's prayers. 


Petitions for Temporal Needs 

TWO sisters were once very desirous of giving a 
certain sum of money to help in the gospel work. 
It was a time of need, and they wished to have 
a part in helping to supply that need. Having no money, 
and their circumstances being such that they were unable 
to earn money at that time, they retired to a room for 
prayer, and there purposed in their hearts that they 
would each give one dollar. As they prayed over the 
matter, and decided upon the amount to give, they felt 
very confident that in some way the Lord would supply 
the money. Several days later, one of these sisters 
received a letter from an aunt, whose home was at a 
distance of more than two thousand miles. In this 
letter, her aunt stated that she had some clothing which 
she very much desired to give her, but that as it was 
somewhat difficult to send it, she decided to sell the 
clothing and send the money instead. Just then someone 
came and desired to purchase it, giving therefor $1.50, 
and two of her daughters added 25 cents each, making 
$2.00, which was sent in the letter to the niece.- 
Observing the dates given in the letter, the sister found 
that this had taken place the same day that she and the 
other sister had agreed in prayer. She had purposed in 
her heart to give $1.00, but now she had $2.00. As she 
was inquiring of the Lord as to what to do with the 


Petitions for Temporal Needs 69 

other dollar, the Lord reminded her that the other 
sister was in need of a dollar to pay that which she had 
purposed, and this extra dollar was for her. It was 
gladly given to the other sister, and both of them greatly 
rejoiced that the Lord had so graciously supplied their 
need, and it was also an inspiration to their faith in 
trusting the Lord for their temporal needs. 

When we come to the Lord, whether it be for spiritual 
or temporal help, we should expect him to give whatever 
we ask. First, there should be put forth an effort to 
know the will of God in the matter, then act accordingly. 
Jesus said, " Ask, and it shall be given you ; seek, and 
ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 
For every one that asketh receiveth ; and he that seeketh 
findeth ; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If 
a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will 
he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish 
give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he 
offer him a scorpion?" Luke n :o.-i2. In other words, 
we might say, " If we ask a blessing, will he give a hard 
trial? or if we ask for money, will he give us greater 
poverty ? " The questions asked in the foregoing scrip- 
tures were to impress upon our minds the fact that the 
Lord loves to give that which will do us good. In order 
to be blessed in store, as well as in experience, it is neces- 
sary for a person to be liberal at heart. 

The apostle says, " He which soweth sparingly shall 
reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully 
shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he 
purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, 
or of necessity : for God loveth a cheerful giver." 

When the apostles were first sent out to preach the 
gospel, they were to go forth, trusting the Lord alone. 
Jesus said to them, " Provide neither gold, nor silver, 

70 The Secret of Prayer 

nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, 
neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the 
workman is worthy of his meat." At a later time, 
when they had fully tested the promises of the Lord, and 
he had tested them and found them true, he said unto 
them, " When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and 
shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. 
Then said he unto them, But now he that hath a purse, 
let him take it, and likewise his scrip : and he that hath 
no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." Luke 
22 : 35, 36. 

They had learned to suffer privation for the benefit 
of others; had learned to place complete confidence in 
the promises of God, and now he could bestow blessings 
upon them by way of a sufficient amount of worldly 
goods for their use. 

It may sometimes happen that one who is trusting 
God will meet with adversity. He may fall among 
thieves and robbers, or have all his property destroyed, 
and may for a great length of time suffer many priva- 
tions; yet if he is true to God, he will bring him through 
it all with an abundance of grace. He, also, may possibly 
increase his worldly possessions to more than he at first 
had, as was the case with Job. We read in the Book of 
Job, how this man had an abundance of sheep and cattle 
and worTdly possessions; and one messenger after 
another came informing him of the destruction of his 
property, until nearly all his possessions were either 
destroyed or taken from him. Besides this, he-was 
smitten with boils from head to foot. His suffering was 
great, but he remained true to the Lord. After his 
property was taken from him, and Satan was going to 
and fro in the earth, " The Lord said unto Satan, Hast 
thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like 

Petitions for Temporal Needs 71 

him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that 
feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth 
fast his integrity." After Job had suffered a great 
length of time, he said, "Let me be weighed in an even 
balance, that God may know mine integrity." Job 31:6. 
After Job had been thoroughly tested, God had mercy 
and compassion upon him, and the Word says " The 
Lord also accepted Job. And the Lord turned the 
captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also 
the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. 
... So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more 
than his beginning." Job 42 : 9-12. 


The Sinner's Prayer 

THE beautiful words recorded in John 3 : 16 should 
be a consolation to every sinner : " For God so 
loved the world, that he gave his only begotten 
Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, 
but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into 
the world to condemn the world; but that the world 
through him might be saved." It is through Jesus 
Christ that the sinner obtains pardon and is relieved 
of his burden of guilt and sin and fitted for the kingdom 
of heaven. There comes a time in the life of all persons 
when the Spirit of the Lord speaks to them, convicting 
of sin, and endeavoring to drew them away from the 
ways of wickedness. Furthermore, he has given 
encouraging promises which will reach the case of every 

Jesus came to seek and to save the lost — those who are 
lost in sin. When one is awakened to his condition, and 
comes to the Lord with a humble heart, a long prayer is 
not necessarily required in order to be saved. The 
publican, who felt the weight of his sins, in much 
humility of heart, prayed: 

" God, be merciful to me a sinner." 


The Sinner's Prayer 73 

Jesus said, " I tell you this man went down to his 
house justified." 

It sometimes happens that people put off salvation 
until the last hour of their lives. It is better late than 
never, but too many are unable to seek the Lord at that 
hour. Many are hurled into eternity without a moment's 
warning; others find that at that time their hearts are 
hardened and the Spirit of the Lord has taken his 
departure, but even in the hour of death, the Lord has 
shown his great mercy to those who called upon him. It 
is recorded that the thieves upon the cross railed out 
upon him, but when one of them realized that Jesus was 
really the Son of God, even though he had spent his 
life in wickedness and sin, he yielded to the wooings of 
the Spirit, and reproved the other thief for mocking 
Jesus. He acknowledged that both of them justly merited 
punishment. Then he said to Jesus, 

"Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy 

The answer from Jesus was " Verily I say unto thee, 
today shalt thou be with me in paradise." 

A few years ago, some ministers were holding a 
series of meetings, the Spirit of the Lord was convicting 
people of their sins, and many were yielding and turning 
from their sinful ways. The minister plead with the 
people to turn to the Lord, and one man, who had enjoyed 
the blessings of salvation, but had again turned into sin, 
said that he would love to be a Christian but had sinned 
away his day of grace. He said that he had gone into sin 
until his heart was hardened. He was urged to come 
forward and let the ministers pray for him, and finally 
kneeled at the altar of prayer, but still insisted that his 
heart was so hard that he could have no confidence that 
God would deliver him. The brethren felt that he had 

74 The Secret of Prayer 

not sinned away his day of grace, and told him that if 
he could not place himself in the hands of God to place 
himself in the hands of the ministry, as best he could, and 
let them pray for him, trusting them to take his case to 
the throne of grace. After some solicitation on the part 
of the ministry, he decided to do so. The earnest prayers 
of the ministers ascended to the throne of grace in his 
behalf, and soon he began to feel the influence and melt- 
ing power of the Spirit of God ; and it was not long, as 
he thus yielded himself, until he realized that there was 
hope for him. As he began to call upon God, and 
acknowledge his sins, and decided, by the grace of God, 
to forever forsake them, he was soon made to realize the 
pardoning power and grace of the Almighty in his soul. 
He arose shouting the praises of God. 

There are today many people whom the enemy has 
made to feel that their day of grace is past, and that there 
is no more hope — that they have sinned against the 
Holy Spirit, when it is only a trick of the enemy to keep 
them out of the kingdom. 

I was once visiting the prisoners in a State Peniten- 
tiary. We had arranged on Sunday morning for a special 
meeting of those who were seeking special help from the 
Lord. About a dozen, who had been hardened criminals, 
some even murderers, were present and desired to seek 
help from God. I read, for part of a Scripture lesson, 
Matthew 6 : 14, 15. " For if ye forgive men their 
trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 
but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will 
your heavenly Father forgive your trespasses." After 
commenting upon this text for some little time, one, who 
had been a murderer, arose and said that he had been 
seeking God for a long time, and even claimed to be 
saved ; but never had been satisfied, and it was not until 

The Sinner's Prayer 75 

that morning that he knew what stood in his way. 
Through the reading of the Word, the Lord made known 
to him that it was because of hardness he held in his 
heart against others whom he felt had wronged him and 
whom he felt he could not forgive. Then and there he 
decided to meet the conditions of the Word of God, for- 
give his enemies, and accept Jesus as his complete Saviour 
from all sin. 

While traveling with a minister in the South, a few 
years ago, we came to a place in Mississippi, where a 
series of meetings were being held. This was considered 
a very wicked community. We earnestly prayed for the 
salvation of souls, and conviction rested upon the people. 
It seemed that the more the power of God was manifest 
in conviction, the more the enemy of souls tried to work 
in opposition to it. One night, just as services were 
about to begin, someone informed us that a mob of 
ruffians were on their way to break up the meeting. It 
then being time for prayer, we informed the congrega- 
tion of the condition of affairs, asking the brethren to 
pray for protection and deliverance from the power of 
the enemy. We had a glorious meeting. The next day 
we learned that a number of those wicked young men, 
after spending some time in drinking liquor, had started 
for the place of meeting, and when within a few rods 
of the place, came to a small creek or stream, which was 
frozen over, it being midwinter. The ice was smooth 
and slick. They tried for a long while to cross, but could 
not do so, as on account of their intoxicated condition, 
they would fall on the ice. At times they would almost 
reach the other side, but seemingly could not quite make 
it, so finally abandoned their purpose of breaking up the 

The next night the house was crowded, and the 

76 The Secret of Prayer 

members of the mob were present. The Spirit of the 
Lord accompanied the preaching of the Word, and great 
conviction rested upon the people. When opportunity 
was given for those who desired to seek the Lord to 
come forward, more than thirty persons speedily made 
their way to the front and began mightily calling upon 
the Lord. Soon the leader of the mob was there upon 
his knees, pleading for mercy, and one after another of 
his companions followed his example. After a short 
time, the leader rose, weeping, and confessed publicly 
concerning his sins and their former intentions of break- 
ing up the meeting, also, stating that he realized it to 
be the power of God which kept them from crossing the 
creek the night before. He cried out, " I am the worst 
man in this whole country," then fell upon his knees, 
calling earnestly upon God for mercy. In a few minutes 
he arose, praising God for deliverance and was happy 
in the Saviour's love. He then besought his companions 
to seek peace to their souls. Nearly two years later, this 
man was taken sick and died, and his father informed me 
that he passed away rejoicing in the Lord. 

There is hope for anyone who will seek the Lord 
while he may be found. 

All sinners should show reverence, not only to God, 
but to his people. If for no other reason than a mani- 
festation of gentlemanly principles, and real manliness, 
they should show their respect where occasion and neces- 
sity demands. If in public service, where people are 
accustomed to bowing in prayer, they should at least bow 
their heads in reverence ; or if all the congregation kneel 
in prayer, they should show respect both to God and the 
people with whom they are associating by kneeling with 
them, also acting in like manner at the family altar. 
Simply because a person is not saved should not 

The Sinner's Prayer 77 

prevent him from showing his respect by bowing 
with the family in the family-circle in morning or 
evening prayers. 

Some have asked if it would be proper for a sinner to 
return thanks at the table. Yes, and especially if there are 
no Christians to ask a blessing, and he feels so disposed, 
it certainly would be right and proper for him to render 
thanks to God for his food. This can be done without 
any indication of hypocrisy. When a sinner shows 
respect to God and to his people in every possible way, 
it helps him to have a tender heart, and when he begins 
to seek God, the Lord will honor him and enable him to 
pray and exercise faith for deliverance from his sins. 
He will then realize the trueness of the Word, which says, 
" Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous 
man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, 
and he will have mercy upon him ; and to our God, for he 
will abundantly pardon." 

Upon the Day of Pentecost, when Peter was preach- 
ing to those wicked men who crucified the Son of God, 
and told them of their sins and of the way of deliverance, 
they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles : " Men 
and brethren, what shall we do ? " Peter said unto them, 
" Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name 
of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall 
receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." There was mercy 
for every one of them, notwithstanding their former 

Many have met a sad fate through procrastination. A 
minister once told me that he was called upon to preach 
the funeral of a young man about eighteen years of age, 
this man having lived a reckless life until he neared the 
hour of his death. Many times he had spurned the 
mercies of God and turned away from the wooings of 

78 The Secret of Prayer 

the Spirit of the Lord, when the gospel had been preached 
and he felt the pleadings of the Holy Spirit for the salva- 
tion of his soul. He chose a life of sin and revelry and 
turned a deaf ear, as it were, to everything that would 
turn him from his wicked career. Finally, when stricken 
down with disease, and he felt the messenger of death 
near, he began to realize keenly his critical condition. 
His friends were anxious for him, and praying with him 
thought from his expressions that he had accepted the 
Lord as his Saviour. He seemed to pass away in death, 
but after a while revived and calling to his father, who 
was a godly man, said " I am lost; I am lost, eternally 
lost. I have come back to tell you of my lost condition, 
because of my life of revelry and sin." In this con- 
dition he passed into eternity, without a hope, to meet 
his doom in the regions of the lost. 

While a series of meetings were being held in a mining 
region, among those who sought the Lord was a miner, 
who was so wrought upon by the Spirit of God that he 
began praying and pleading for salvation. A number of 
the members of the congregation remained with him until 
a late hour, and then left him, but he refused to go home 
without the needed help, saying " I feel it must be 
settled tonight." The minister remained with him, and 
finally urged him to go home and come again the next 
night. The man said, " Some way, I feel it must be 
settled tonight." About three o'clock in the morning, 
while earnestly praying and pleading for his salvation, 
he broke through to victory and went home with a heart 
filled with praises. 

In the morning he bade his wife and children farewell, 
as usual, and went to his work. It was a short time 
later that the arch of rock above him caved and fell upon 
him, crushing his body. As his fellow-workmen rushed 

The Sinner's Prayer 79 

to his rescue, they found him still alive, and among his 
last words were " Oh, I am so glad I settled it last 
night ! " Truly he was fortunate to have continued in 
prayer until the vicfory was won. 

The Petition of the Outcast 

NO one cares for me, and nobody loves me," is 
a common expression of the one who is an 
outcast, being forsaken by friends and society. 
Such persons feel that they are forsaken by both God 
and man, and their feelings can scarcely be described. In 
many cases there seems to be nothing for which to live, 
while death means only to step into deeper darkness and 
eternal despair. 

King Manasseh turned aside from the way of right- 
eousness and did evil in the sight of the Lord. His wick- 
edness was of the deepest dye. The Lord warned him 
and the people, but they would not harken. 

For a time the Lord permitted their enemies to prevail 
over them. Manasseh was bound with fetters and car- 
ried into captivity. While in exile, or banished from his 
kingdom, suffering pain and humiliation, he became 
awakened to his condition. He then began to humble his 
heart in prayer. The Lord heard his petition and an- 

" And now when he was in affliction, he besought the 
Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the 
God of his fathers, and prayed unto him: and he was 
intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought 
him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Ma- 


The Petition of the Outcast 81 

nasseh knew that the Lord he was God." 2 Chronicles 
33 : 12-13. 

Another one, who had the experience of being an out- 
cast, was Hagar, who fled from the face of her mistress, 
and the Lord sent an angel after her. It was recorded 
that " the angel of the Lord found her by a fountain of 
water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way of 
Shur. And he said, Hagar, Sarai's maid, whence earnest 
thou ? and whither wilt thou go ? And she said, I flee from 
the face of my mistress, Sarai. And the angel of the 
Lord said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit 
thyself under her hands." 

After her child was born, she again became an outcast 
and wandered away into the wilderness, with only the 
portion of a bond servant, which was some bread and a 
bottle of water. Soon " the water was spent in the bottle, 
and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. And she 
went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, 
as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the 
death of the child. And she sat over against him, and 
lift up her voice, and wept. And God heard the voice 
of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of 
heaven and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar ? Fear 
not ; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. 
Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand ; for I will 
make him a great nation. And God opened her eyes, and 
she saw a well of water; and she went and filled the 
bottle with water, and gave the lad drink. And God was 
with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, 
and became an archer. And he dwelt in the wilderness 
of Paran : and his mother took him a wife out of the land 
of Egypt." 

These instances should be an encouragement to those 
who are friendless, penniless, and to whom the future 

82 The Secret of Prayer 

seems dark and dreary. It was because of their prayer, 
penitent plea, or anguish of soul that the Lord was con- 
strued to lend a helping hand in time of great distress. 

Another very striking illustration of the mercy of God 
is shown in the instance of the prodigal son. (Luke 
15:11-24.) Jesus said, "I say unto you, there is joy 
in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that 
repenteth." Luke 10: 10. 

It often happens that those in such a deplorable con- 
dition as to have become outcasts are so desperately 
discouraged as to believe that they are forsaken by God 
and man, sometimes even doubting the existence of God, 
but many in such a condition have ventured to pray, " Oh, 
God, if there be a God." Their state of wretchedness 
caused them to think there could scarcely be a God of 
mercy. However, there is hope for such, if they come in 
humility of heart, and penitence, no matter how great 
their desperation and despair. There is a way by which 
they may find favor in the sight of God, and that is 
through earnest, humble prayer. 


How the Discouraged Can Get Help 

WITH many people, discouragements become 
chronic. Under adverse circumstances they 
give way to bad feelings, until the dark side 
can be seen in almost every undertaking. Misery and 
woe follow their pathway, and life becomes a constant 
burden, not of necessity, but because the one who lives 
such a life makes choice of it. The enemy of souls seeks 
to lead the discouraged into the way of confusion and 

I once knew a man who yielded to discouragements 
until he reached the whirlpool of confusion. He had 
been in the service of the Lord for several years, and 
had been very useful in helping others ; but after yielding 
to discouragement, and becoming confused regarding his 
spiritual life, he felt he was unable to keep victory in 
his soul. For many months he went along in this con- 
dition, often praying and consecrating his life anew, and 
having others pray for him again and again, and claiming 
the victory, only to again sink deeper in the mire, as it 
were. It seemed that the spirit of confusion had such 
power over him that he felt unable to retain a victory. 
He finally had to learn to take a stand against the spirit 
of confusion and against his feelings, and believe the 
Word of God to be true. He had to settle it in his heart, 
with a real determination to obey God, whatever the cost, 


84 The Secret of Prayer 

regardless of feeling or the opposing circumstances, that 
he would meet the conditions of the Word of God and 
that he would stand upon his promises. He further had 
to decide that would resist the devil and trust God for 
the needed help. Many times he had had prayer, by those 
who could pray the prayer of faith, and everything would 
seem clear before him, but yet to drop into discourage- 
ment had become a chronic thing with him, and it took 
a desperate effort for him to get out of that condition. 

At one time, after having had the help of several 
brethren, who united in earnest prayer in his behalf, and 
instructed him just how to believe, God so witnessed to 
them and even caused him. to feel his power and presence. 
The brethren had done everything they could possibly do, 
and God had so marvelously witnessed to their souls, by 
manifestation of his power and spirit, that they, with 
one accord, declared the work done. He could not find 
an excuse for not taking his stand, and even believed 
that God had granted the desired help, but said, " Now, 
brethren, I believe that if you would just do that over 
again, the same as you did before, I could believe." The 
brethren then said to him : " You have confidence that 
your wife is a good cook, have you not?" He replied, 
" She is a good cook." The brethren said, " Now, sup- 
pose you come home hungry and ask your wife to prepare 
something for you to eat. Soon she has a well-cooked 
meal, which she sets before you, and asks you to eat. 
You look at the food, and say, ' Well, wife, I know you 
are a good cook; I believe you cooked this food all right, 
but I think that if you will cook it all over again I can 
eat it.' " The confused brother saw the point, and said, 
" Must it come to this ? " The brethren said it must come 
just that way, and that he was at that place from a spirit- 
ual standpoint ; that it would be just as ridiculous for them 

How the Discouraged Can Get Help 85 

to do their work all over again, after the Lord had so 
witnessed to their faith, as for his wife to cook the food 
again, after she had once prepared it. It was then that 
he laid hold upon the promises of God, realizing how 
simple it was to believe God and to take him at his word. 
He gained the victory, the confusing, discouraging spirit 
was rebuked, and he forever took a stand against all such 
manifestations. He has since, for years, lived a vic- 
torious life, and he is able to instruct others and help 
them out of similar troubles and conditions. 

A good way to keep victory over discouragements is 
to always look at the bright side of things. Instead of 
going about with a long face, have a smile for every 
one around you. In making petitions to the Lord, in- 
stead of forever asking and never believing, begin to 
count the promises of God as true, and appropriate them 
as your own. Remember that all have their trials. 

The apostle says, " Beloved, think it not strange con- 
cerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though 
some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, in- 
asmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, 
when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also 
with exceeding joy." I Peter 4: 12, 13. 

Again he says, " Though now for a season, if need be, 
ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations : that 
the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of 
gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be 
found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing 
of Jesus Christ: whom having not seen, ye love; in 
whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, we re- 
joice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." 1 
Peter 1:6-8. 

There are times when, for our good, it may be neces- 
sary for us to have a burden, or a season of heaviness, 

86 The Secret of Prayer 

through manifold temptations, but at such times, we 
should remember the words of the apostle: "And we 
know that all things work together for good to them that 
love God." Romans 8 : 28. 

Another thing that should be remembered is that: 
" There hath no temptation taken you but such as is 
common to man : but God is faithful, who will not suffer 
you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with 
the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be 
able to bear it." 1 Corinthians 10: 13. 

Sometimes one is tempted to believe the trial to be 
greater than that of any one else, but such a person should 
read and re-read the scripture just quoted, and take note 
of the statement that the present trial is nothing more 
than is common to anyone, and that "God is faithful;" 
that he will not permit us " to be tempted above that we 
are able," and with the temptation he will " make a way to 
escape," that is, he will prepare a way for us to be an 
overcomer, " that ye may be able to bear it." He does 
not here promise to remove the cause of your trial, but 
he can lift you above it in spirit, and make you to abound 
in the riches of the glory of God, with such a victory 
that you can feel and realize the blessedness of the way 
of peace ; and there will be a real inspiration in your soul, 
which causes you to rise above the trials of life. That 
which was a source of temptation and trial will be made 
a stepping-stone of faith to higher planes of peace and 

it frequently happens with some that their thoughts 
go uncontrolled, and thus their minds, in a sense, become 
darkened and confused. By watchfulness and earnest 
prayer, this may be averted, but sometimes in going to 
prayer some have been troubled with wandering thoughts 
and find it difficult to concentrate their minds upon the 

How the Discouraged Can Get Help 87 

Lord. There are various reasons for such conditions. 
At times it may be a direct imposition of the enemy to 
prevent a prayer of faith. At such times the evil one 
needs to be rebuked and resisted, and one should return 
to the Lord with real earnestness. At other times it 
may happen on account of over-taxation or sluggishness 
of mind or because of a lack of activity. In the latter 
case, proper exercise in the open air will be beneficial, 
aside from the help one may receive directly from the 
Lord. Again, these things come from permitting the 
mind to dwell upon things that are not wholesome for 
the soul. For one to continue to entertain lines of 
thought which are harmful, will, to that extent, corrupt 
the mind and cause a habit to be formed, from which it 
is difficult to break away. 

A good illustration regarding what should be the sub- 
ject of our thoughts is given in Philippians 4 : 7, 8 : " And 
the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall 
keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ. Finally, 
brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things 
are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things 
are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things 
are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be 
any praise, think on these things." From this, we would 
conclude that it would not be wise to let the mind dwell 
upon those things which are not helpful. There are 
things that are true that would not be beneficial for us 
to think about continually. For instance, some dreadful 
calamity has taken place; a murder or some vile deeds 
have been committed. There is no question about the 
fact that these things have taken place; no harm 1 may 
come from knowing of them, but to continue to let the 
mind dwell upon such things will add neither virtue nor 
praise. Evil thoughts may come to the mind, but it is 

88 The Secret of Prayer 

our place to resist them. There are times, even when a 
person is not discouraged, that he feels a special burden 
upon his soul over some weighty matters, either spiritual 
or temporal, or it may be for the salvation of other 
souls. The burden may be so great that the one who is 
so wrought upon by the spirit of God may not be able 
to give expression in words, while in prayer; but the 
Lord is able to give help even when words cannot be 
uttered, as we read in Romans 8 : 26 : " Likewise the 
Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not 
what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit 
itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which 
cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts 
knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he mak- 
eth intercession for the saints according to the will of 


How to Obtain Help in Time of Trouble 

IT was when Job was put to the utmost test, in almost 
every possible way, that he realized that God was 
his helper; even in the darkest hour of his trial, 
and while in his sore affliction, and after having suf- 
fered the loss of all his worldly possessions, the instruc- 
tion and counsel given him was "Behold, happy is the 
man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou 
the chastening of the Almighty : for he maketh sore, and 
bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole. 
He shall deliver thee in six troubles : yea, in seven there 
shall no evil touch thee." Job 5 : 17-19. 

Sometimes Job felt that he was almost forsaken by 
God and man, and was sorely tempted and tried and 
tested, but his trueness in the end brought great satis- 
faction to the soul, and the blessings of the Lord were 
upon him in a temporal way, and also in increasing his 
faith and confidence in God. 

In time of trouble, one should flee to the Lord in 
prayer. Then is the time that a person needs to commune 
with one who knows all about their sorrows and cares, 
who understands the source of their trials and knows 
just how to render the needed help. 

90 The Secret of Prayer 

The Psalmist said, " God is our refuge and strength, a 
very present help in trouble." Psalms 46: 1. 

We should learn at all times to follow the advice of 
the apostle, wherein he says, " Humble yourselves there- 
fore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt 
you in due time : casting all your care upon him ; for he 
careth for you." 1 Peter 5:6, 7. 

A sure way to prolong troubles is to worry over things 
of the past, present, or future. It does no one any good 
to worry over a thing before it happens, and it will not 
help matters in the least to worry after it has happened. 
Many people are either living in the past or the future 
so far as enjoyment is concerned, and have not learned 
the blessedness of a present experience of freedom of 
mind, soul and body — have not learned to cast their 
cares and anxieties on the Lord and permit him to take 
away their burdens. 

It is not good policy to take your troubles to bed, as 
they do not make a congenial bed- fellow. Upon retiring 
at night, everything should be committed into the hands 
of the Lord and then lie down in peace to rest and 

Jesus said, " In the world ye shall have tribulation : 
but be of good cheer." 

In the fifth chapter of Romans, the apostle tells how 
to receive a benefit in time of trial and testing. After 
making mention of the experience of salvation, through 
faith, he says, " And not only so, but we glory in tribula- 
tions also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 
and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and 
hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is 
shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is 
given unto us." Romans 5 : 3-5. 

He does not say that we are to worry in time of trial 

How to Obtain Help in Time of Trouble 91 

and tribulation, nor that we are to feel downcast, but 
to " glory in tribulations." " Let us therefore come 
boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain 
mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 


Opening the Windows of Heaven 

WHEN the Jews had wandered away from the 
Lord and failed to do that which was 
required of them, in bringing their tithes and 
offerings for the service of the Lord, they were 
admonished through the prophet Malachi, who said to 
them, " Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that 
there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now 
herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you 
the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing 
that there shall not be room enough to receive it." 
Malachi 3 : 10. 

" But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of 
righteousness arise with healing in his wings ; and ye 
shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall." 
Malachi 4 : 2. 

When Jesus Christ came preaching the gospel, those 
who believed were made free from the bondage of sin and 
were delivered from the power of the devil. The promise 
was given of the Holy Spirit, the abiding comforter, and 
upon the day of Pentecost, as the disciples were earnestly 
praying and waiting and believing. " Suddenly there 
came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, 
and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 


Opening the Windows of Heaven 93 

. . . And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost." 
Acts 2 : 2-4. Surely the windows of heaven were open 
to them, and the blessings of God were showered down 
upon their souls, and it is said of them that " they, con- 
tinuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking 
bread from house to house, did eat their meat with glad- 
ness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having 
favor with all the people." 

Thousands of people believed, and became followers 
of Jesus, and consecrated their worldly possessions to the 
service of the Lord. A mighty outpouring of the Holy 
Spirit continued to rest upon these liberal hearted people, 
nor did the blessings of salvation and the manifestation 
of his joy and power stop with the believers at Pente- 
cost. Throughout the New Testament, are many prom- 
ises of joy and happiness to those who obey the Word 
of the Lord. There are recorded instances of those 
who actually received such blessings, and obtained an 
experience whereby they could rejoice in the grace and 
glory of God. The apostle, in writing to the Roman 
brethren, said, " Now the God of hope fill you with all 
joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, 
through the power of the Holy Ghost." Romans 15 : 13. 

It is evident that many Christians are not enjoying 
their full privileges in the gospel. One of the principal 
hindrances is not only a lack of energy and enthusiasm, 
but a lack of belief for the needed help and manifestation 
of the power of God. It was when the apostles were 
commanded not to speak any more in the name of Jesus 
that they were made to flee to the Lord in prayer, and 
there, in great earnestness, the petitions ascended to the 
throne as the petition of one man. They could have 
quietly complied with the request of their enemies, and 
have placed their light under a bushel, as it were, in order 

94 The Secret of Prayer 

to avoid further opposition and persecutions, but on the 
other hand, they prayed for boldness, that they might 
speak the Word of the Lord, and that the Lord might 
enable them to work signs and wonders. This was the 
very thing that caused them to get into trouble — the 
manifestation of the power of God in and through them. 
When they had thus prayed, it is said that the place was 
shaken where they were assembled together, and they 
spake the Word of God with boldness. It was then that 
the mighty manifestation of the power of God followed. 

Their prayer was a prayer of faith : much was at stake. 
They were determined to be obedient unto the Lord 
regardless of opposition; regardless of persecutions, and 
when they prayed for boldness, they expected to act 
accordingly. They did not mean to wait until some 
wonderful thing should take place, in order that they 
might have some occasion to go forward and do their 
duty. Considering matters from a reasonable standpoint, 
and realizing that God now is as he was in those days, as 
we read in Hebrews 13 : 8, " Jesus Christ the same yester- 
day, and today and forever," and also realizing that men 
are of like passions now as they were in those days, it 
is only reasonable to believe that the same earnestness, 
the same consecration and exercising of faith will now 
bring about similar results. It may not be exactly the 
same manifestation, but the power of God will be mani- 
fest in a way that is satisfactory to those who meet the 
full conditions of the Word of God and press the battle 
on to victory. 

Paul was not among the number that prayed for bold- 
ness, but instead soon after that time we read that he 
was very bold in persecuting the children of God, even 
casting them in prison and consenting to their death ; but 
when he turned from his sins and wickedness, God mani- 

Opening the Windows of Heaven 95 

fested his power with him in various ways, and not only 
with him but with those under his teaching, and under 
the preaching of the gospel by other ministers at that 

It is when the whole word of God is preached, or 
believed and practiced, that the windows of heaven are 
opened unto the people of God. There are many who 
occasionally receive blessings, and whose faith is honored 
by God, but they are living so far below the standard of 
truth that their showers of blessings are not very 

When the death sentence was upon Peter, while he 
was in prison, bound in chains, he was living before the 
Lord in such a manner that he could quietly commit 
everything unto the Lord and go to sleep. It was while 
in that condition that the Lord sent his angel and 
delivered him. 

It was when Paul and Silas had their feet in stocks 
in prison, and had been beaten with many stripes, until 
their blood was shed for the sake of the gospel, that even 
through it all they were praising God at the midnight 
hour, when the Lord sent an earthquake and opened the 
prison doors, and soon the prisoners were set free; the 
jailer and his family saved, and their household made 
happy in the love of God. 

Would you have the windows of heaven opened to 
your soul, where the blessings can be showered down 
upon you? Then let the consecration not only be com- 
plete, but see to it that you are energetic and active fti 
doing what God has for you to do in his service. The 
man or woman who has nothing to give for the further- 
ance of the gospel, in accordance with the means that 
God has placed in their hands, or enabled them to possess, 
has failed to realize the riches of the blessings that come 

96 The Secret of Prayer 

from that source of consecration. Ofttimes people plead 
poverty, forgetting the widow's mite, and the commenda- 
tions of Jesus for her liberality. There are times when 
people are really unable to give of their temporal means, 
because they have nothing to give, but there are deeds of 
charity that can be performed, there are words of kind- 
ness that can be spoken, there are burdened hearts that 
need to be cheered, the sorrowful to be consoled, and 
words of comfort and consolation to those who are tried 
and discouraged. There are times, when even a smile 
from one who is filled with the grace of God, will be a 
source of encouragement to those in need of help. There 
are many ways by which a person may be useful, even 
though penniless, yet abounding in the grace of God. 

The apostle said, "And above all these things put on 
charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the 
peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye 
are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the 
word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom ; teach- 
ing and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns 
and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to 
the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do 
all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God 
and the Father by him." Colossians 3 : 14-17. 

James says, " My brethren, count it all joy when ye 
fall into divers temptations." There should be a deter- 
mination to do the will of God at the cost of all things. 
Such a fixed decision will enable one to go through the 
thickest of the fight and surmount the greatest difficulties 
in life. 

The glory of the Lord will rest upon those who are 
faithful and push the battle through to victory. They 
may ofttimes pass through deep waters of trial, have 
very heavy burdens of life to bear, and at times it may 

Opening the Windows of Heaven 97 

seem that the Lord has hidden his face from them, but 
their trueness in such times will enable them to realize 
the truthfulness of the promises of the Lord, and will 
open the windows of heaven to shower blessings upon 
their souls. 

Long and Short Prayers 

THE length of the prayers offered is no criterion 
by which one may estimate our power with God, 
or know the extent of our spirituality. The 
motive and fervency of the heart is that which the Lord 
considers. A few words may sometimes be as effectual 
as ten thousand words. 

The Pharisees loved to stand on the street corners and 
pray long prayers, in order to be seen of men, but their 
prayers availed nothing. Jesus not only gave them to 
understand that their prayers did not reach the throne of 
grace, but warned the people against them. "Then in 
the audience of all the people he said unto his disciples, 
Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, 
and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in 
the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts; which 
devour widow's houses, and for a shew make long 
prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation." 
Luke 20 : 45-47. 

While Paul was on his way to Damascus to persecute 
the children of God, a voice from heaven spoke to him. 
As wicked as he was at that time, he at once recognized 
it as being the voice of God. " And he said, Who art 
thou, Lord ? " His entreaty was direct, pointed, and with 
all seriousness. The answer came, " I am Jesus whom 
thou persecutest." 


Long and Short Prayers 99 

The poor publican, who was so humiliated at heart, 
because of his sins, and feeling the weight of his guilt, 

" Lord, have mercy upon me a sinner." 

There words came from the very depths of his soul, 
and Jesus said that he " went down to his house justified." 

There are some people who are unable to express 
themselves fluently or freely in prayer, but the Lord 
hears and takes note of their earnest petition, though it 
be in few words. 

There are times when a short prayer by anyone may 
suffice, while at other times it becomes necessary to pro- 
long the petition and present many things before the 
Lord, for his help, and in obtaining his favor and bless- 
ings, according to the petition desired. 

Jesus would, at times, arise before the break of day, 
or very early in the morning, and go to some solitary 
place for prayer. It was for the purpose of unburdening 
his heart to the Father, for his needs and the needs of 
the people. Sometimes he would linger all night in 
prayer. Generally soon after such prolonged prayers, 
there was some remarkable occurrence, or a weighty 
matter considered, or a mighty manifestation of his 

The Christian should learn to have the necessary self- 
control, and govern himself according to circumstances. 
Ofttimes at public services an extremely lengthy prayer 
would be entirely out of order, while at other times a 
prayer of reasonable length, when inspired by the Spirit 
of the Lord, may be what is needed, while again a short 
prayer would be more appropriate. 

In an assembly, where there has been made a special 
request for prayer for some particular thing, or for some 
certain person, it would not be wisdom to begin praying 

100 The Secret of Prayer 

for the heathen in foreign lands, nor for the missionaries 
and their needs, or the many things and places in home 
and foreign lands. Then and there is not the place for 
your prayers to be extended all around the world, but 
they should be centered upon the one special thing for 
which prayer has been requested. It is then that others 
present can exercise definite, united faith with the one 
who is praying, and God will send the answer accordingly. 
At the time of general prayer, the scope of territory 
may be broadened, and petitions ascend for various 
things, according to the place and circumstances. One of 
the things to be remembered, in order to make prayer 
effective, is to ask for just what is desired, as Jesus said, 
" What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe 
that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." Mark 
1 1 : 24. 


To Those Who Pray and Receive No Answer 

THERE are people who are religiously inclined, and 
claim to be Christians, or followers of the Lord, 
and yet are so far from him in spirit and in 
devotion that he neither listens to nor answers their 

At various times the children of Israel strayed away 
from God, and worshiped idols and did many other 
things that were contrary to the will of God, yet they 
claimed to be people of the true God. In times of trouble 
they would turn to him for help, but did not give up 
their idol worship and evil practices. For this reason 
God paid no attention to their prayers, because of a lack 
of true repentance. He spoke to his prophet, Ezekiel, 
at one time, and said, " Son of man, speak unto the 
elders of Israel, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord 
God ; Are ye come to enquire of me ? As I live, saith the 
Lord God, I will not be enquired of by you. For when 
ye offer your gifts, when ye make your sons to pass 
through the fire, ye pollute yourselves with all your idols, 
even unto this day : and shall I be enquired of by you, O 
house of Israel ? As I live, saith the Lord God, I will not 
be enquired of by you." Ezekiel 20: 3 and 31. 

Another prophet said, " They shall go with their flocks 
and with their herds to seek the Lord ; but they shall not 


102 The Secret of Prayer 

find him ; he hath withdrawn himself from them." Hosea 

It was because of their continuing in sin and their 
unwillingness to give up their sins, even when they were 
seeking the Lord, that caused him to hide his face from 
them and refuse to hear them. The Lord sent his 
prophet, Isaiah, to them, telling them why the Lord had 
hid his face and how to escape from the destruction that 
was upon them. He said, " And when ye spread forth 
your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when 
ye make many prayers, I will not hear : your hands are 
full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away 
the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to 
do evil; learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the 
oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. 
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: 
though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white 
as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall 
be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat 
the good of the land: but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall 
be devoured with the sword : for the mouth of the Lord 
hath spoken it." Isaiah 1 : 15-20. 

No matter how religious people may be, or how great 
their profession, if they insist in going recklessly on in 
sin, God will not hear and answer their prayers while 
they continue in this condition. 


Why Some Prayers Are Not Answered 

THE Jews, who did not accept Christ, were blinded 
to the fact that he was the Christ. Their hearts 
became hardened, and although they prayed to 
God, yet their prayers availed nothing. 

The Scribes and Pharisees could pray long prayers, and 
make great demonstrations before the public, but their 
prayers availed nothing. Jesus told them that they were 
very particular about the outward performance of the 
washing of hands, and such like, but neglected the 
weightier matters pertaining to the salvation of the soul, 
and their prayers, therefore, were not heard. 

There are people who have once been converted, and 
upon whom God has bestowed his blessings in many ways, 
but who have since failed to walk in the light of his 
Word, thus causing their hearts to be far from God, so 
that they are no longer able to have sweet communion 
with him, as Jesus says: "Walk while ye have the light, 
lest darkness come upon you." John 12 : 35. 

Then there are those who pray from a selfish motive. 
They ask, but as James says : " Ye ask, and receive not, 
because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your 
lusts." James 4 : 3. 

The proud in heart fail to receive the needed help from 
the Lord. We read " But he giveth more grace. Where- 


104 The Secret of Prayer 

fore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace 
unto the humble." James 4 : 6. 

Some fail to resist the devil, and are defeated while 
at prayer. " Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist 
the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, 
and he will draw nigh to you." James 4 : 7, 8. 

Many people pray, and apparently open the door of 
their hearts to the Lord, but close the door before the 
answer comes; while others pray and do not expect an 
answer — in fact, would be very much surprised should 
the Lord answer their prayer. 

There is an inclination on the part of some who have 
prayed, to believe that the Lord does not commune with 
people in prayer, as he did in the early days of Christian- 
ity, but such is a mistaken idea. The difficulty is not with 
the Lord, but with the one who does the praying. 

That which was written in the last chapter of James, 
in regard to the prayer of Elias, was given for our 
benefit. It says that he was a man of like passions as we 
are, and he prayed. Then there is given a record of the 
result of his prayer. The lesson in this for us is that 
if he was a man of like passions, or make-up, as we are, 
and could pray the prayer of faith and receive an answer 
from God, it is evident that with the same earnestness 
and determination before God, it is possible for us to 
have our prayers answered, according to our needs. 

The promises are yea and amen, in Christ Jesus, and 
it is recorded that the " scriptures cannot be broken." 


How to Get an Answer 

IN the first chapter of James, the apostle gives 
instruction as to how prayer should be offered for 
wisdom. He says, " If any of you lack wisdom, 
let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and 
upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him 
ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is 
like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 
For let not that man think that he shall receive anything 
of the Lord." James i : 5-7. 

There must be perfect submission to the will of God, 
and whether the answer is immediately forthcoming, or 
importunity is required, be determined but so submissive 
that there be no hindrance to receiving the answer that 
is according to his will. 

The leper came in much humility of heart, and said: 

" Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." 
Matthew 8 : 2. 

He had left it completely to the will of God, and the 
answer was forthcoming : 

"I will; be thou clean." 

Another beautiful illustration of the compassion of 
Jesus in regard to an earnest petition was in the case of 
the centurion. " And when Jesus was entered into 
Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching 
him, and saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of 


106 The Secret of Prayer 

the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto 
him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered 
and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come 
under my roof : but speak the word only, and my servant 
shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having 
soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he 
goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to 
my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. 

When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them 
that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found 
so great faith, no, not in Israel. . . . And Jesus said 
unto the centurion, Go thy way ; and as thou hast believed, 
so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in 
the selfsame hour." 

A wonderful lesson is to be learned from this centurion. 
He manifested implicit confidence in the ability, power 
and willingness of Jesus to fulfill the desire of his heart. 
In order to convince Jesus of his faith in him, he referred 
to his own authority over the men under his jurisdiction, 
and how obedient they were to his commands. They 
were his servants and did not wait to question his author- 
ity, nor to know why his commands were given, but 
always obeyed him in whatsoever he requested of them. 
Now, the centurion offered to acknowledge Jesus in full 
authority, possessing the necessary power of execution, 
and he himself acted the part of an obedient servant, and 
said to Jesus, " Speak the word only, and my servant 
shall be healed." Such implicit confidence, such simple 
faith and readiness to do the will of God, anxiously 
awaiting an opportunity for action or submission to what- 
ever may be his will, is sure to bring an answer in some 
way that will be satisfactory to the one who makes the 

The Psalmist said, " I cried unto God with my voice, 

How to Get an Answer 107 

even unto God with my voice ; and he gave ear unto me. 
In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord." Psalms 

" For the Lord God is a sun and shield : the Lord will 
give grace and glory: no good thing will be withhold 
from them that walk uprightly." Psalms 84: n. 

After a wonderful manifestation of the power of God 
in the withering of the fig tree, when the disciples called 
the attention of Jesus to it, his answer was : " Have 
faith in God." He then set forth to them the unbounded 
possibilities of faith and their privileges through its 
exercise. " For verily I say unto you, That whosoever 
shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be 
thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, 
but shall believe that those things which he saith shall 
come to pass ; he shall have whatsoever he saith. There- 
fore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when 
ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have 
them." Mark 1 1 : 12-24. 

There are times when a person's faith may be severely 
tested. Then is the time to stand true to God and await 
the results. The Word says : " Cast not away therefore 
your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. 
For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done 
the will of God, ye might receive the promise." Hebrews 

10:35. 36. 

Stand firm, like Abraham of old, " Who against hope 
believed in hope, that he might become the father of many 
nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy 
seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not 
his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred 
years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb : he 
staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; 
but was strong in faith, giving glory to God ; and being 

108 The Secret of Prayer 

fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able 
also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for 
righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, 
that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it 
shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up 
Jesus our Lord from the dead." Romans 4: 18-24. 

This then, having been written for our benefit, we 
should not fail to profit by the faithfulness of Abraham, 
and like this patriarch of old, let us not stagger at the 
promises of God. It is then that we can realize and enjoy 
our privileges in the Lord more abundantly, and learn to 
rely upon him in every time of need. 

" And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, 
if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us : 
and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we 
know that we have the petitions that we desired of him." 
1 John 5 ; 14, 15. 

The Prayer of the Patriarchs 

AMONG those of the patriarchs upon whom the 
blessings of the Lord seemed to specially rest 
were Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Their com- 
munion with the Lord is not often recorded in the form 
of a petition of prayer in the manner in which some of 
the prophets, kings and apostles plead with the Lord in 
later years. However, it is written that they prayed, but 
generally their prayer was a communion in which the 
Lord spoke directly to them in various ways. While it is 
evident that these patriarchs often humbled themselves 
in earnest prayer before the Lord, as did men of God 
in later years, yet the records given are mostly of direct 
communion by way of conversation between them and 
the Lord. 

Abraham is designated as being the "Father of the 
faithful." One of his short prayers is given in Genesis 
15 : 1-3, where he asks the Lord for a child. In answer 
to that prayer, the Lord promised to give him a son, and 
" He staggered not at the promise of God through unbe- 
lief." Romans 4: 20, 21. 

After the fulfillment of this promise, and when his son 
Isaac had grown to be a lad, the trueness of Abraham was 
tested to the fullest extent when he was asked to offer 
Isaac as a sacrifice. He went about it with the intention 
of carrying out the directions of the Lord, and unwaver- 


110 The Secret of Prayer 

ing faith believed that even though Isaac should be slain 
the Lord would fulfill his promise in making him a great 
nation. God, seeing the faithfulness of Abraham, pro- 
vided another sacrifice and spared the son. 

Not only did Abraham pray for himself, but he prayed 
for others also, and God honored his faith in their behalf. 
" So Abraham prayed unto God : and God healed Abime- 
lech, and his wife, and his maidservants." Genesis 
20: 17. 

The fervency of Abraham was manifest in his earnest 
importunity to the Lord in behalf of the people of Sodom. 
When he learned that the Lord intended to destroy the 
city, he made an earnest plea for the deliverance of that 
city from its awful destruction. (Genesis 18:23-33.) 

The Lord favorably answered every petition made by 
Abraham in his supplications for this city, and not being 
able to find a sufficient number to comply with the last 
request, the Lord delivered Lot and his family, and then 
destroyed the city. 

At one time, when the messengers whom Jacob had 
sent to meet his brother, Esau, returned, their message 
greatly disturbed Jacob, as he believed Esau was coming 
to meet him in battle, so he resorted to prayer. 

" And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and 
God of my father Isaac, the Lord which saidst unto me, 
Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will 
deal well with thee : I am not worthy of the least of all 
mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed 
unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this 
Jordan; and now I am become two bands. Deliver me, 
I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand 
of Esau : for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, 
and the mother with the children. And thou saidst, I 
will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand 

The Prayer of the Patriarchs 111 

of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude." 
Genesis 32 : 9-12. 

After Jacob had offered this petition unto the Lord, he 
prepared to meet Esau and make the best of the situation, 
but was unwilling to do so without receiving an assurance 
from the Lord of favor in his sight. 

" And Jacob was left alone ; and there wrestled a man 
with him until the breaking of the day. And when he 
saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the 
hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was 
out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, let 
me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let 
thee go, except thou bless me. 

And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he 
said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no 
more Jacob, but Israel : for as a prince hast thou power 
with God, and with men, and hast prevailed. 

And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, 
thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost 
ask after my name? And he blessed him there." 
Genesis 32 : 24-29. 

This is one of the great examples of importunity 
with the Lord. Jacob realized that his only help was to 
come from the Lord, and believed that great devastation 
and destruction was before him, except he receive the 
favor of God. It was for this reason that he besought 
him so earnestly and did not let this messenger of the 
Lord go until there was an evidence of the bestowal of 
favor in the sight of God. 

These earnest petitions of the patriarchs, with their 
determined efforts to obtain the blessings of God, and 
have favor in his sight is an impetus to us to prevail in 
prayer ; and their example in petitioning the Lord should 
stimulate us with a fervency that we may offer our peti- 

112 The Secret of Prayer 

tions with a determination not to be defeated by the 

Many people today fail to enjoy the blessings of the 
Lord as they should, and fail in their privileges with the 
Lord, because of a lack of fervency and importunity such 
as attended the intercessions of the patriarchs. 

Moses and Aaron 

PERHAPS no one ever felt his weakness more 
take upon himself the responsibility of leadership 
than did Moses at the time the Lord called him 
in delivering the children of Israel out from under the 
bondage of Pharaoh. When the Lord presented this 
matter to Moses, the thought of taking such responsibilites 
seemed more than Moses was able to bear. 

" And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should 
go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the 
children of Israel out of Egypt? And he said, Certainly 
I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, 
that I have sent thee : When thou hast brought forth the 
people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this 

And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto 
the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The 
God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they 
shall say to me, What is his name ? what shall I say unto 
them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: 
and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of 
Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God said 
moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the 
children of Israel, The Lord God of your fathers, the 
God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of 
Jacob, hath sent me unto you : this is my name for ever, 


114 The Secret of Prayer 

and this is my memorial unto all generations." Exodus 


Poor Moses, with all the promises given, yet he did not 
feel competent for the place, and could not feel that 
the people would be willing to obey his commands. He 
said to the Lord, " But, behold, they will not believe 
me, nor harken unto my voice: for they will say, The 
Lord hath not appeared unto thee." Then the Lord 
manifested his power, in various ways, to Moses, and 
told him how he could convince the people that he the 
Lord had really called him to be their leader. 

" And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not 
eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken 
unto thy servant : but I am slow of speech, and of a slow 
tongue. And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made 
man's mouth ? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the 
seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord? Now there- 
fore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee 
what thou shalt say. And he said, O my Lord, send, I 
pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send." 

This displeased the Lord, and yet he did, in a sense, 
comply with the petition of Moses, insomuch that he 
agreed to send Aaron along as spokesman, but said, " And 
thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth : 
and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and 
will teach you what ye shall do. And he shall be thy 
spokesman unto the people : and he shall be, even he shall 
be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him 
instead of God. And thou shalt take this rod in thine 
hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs." 

As much as Moses felt his inability, God did not see 
fit to release him from the responsibilities to which he 
had called him. Even though Aaron went along to be 
spokesman, Moses was required to tell him what to say. 

Moses and Aaron 115 

After the children of Israel had made their escape 
from Egypt, and while wandering in the wilderness, 
many times Moses and Aaron would fall upon their faces 
in earnest prayer before the Lord. Sometimes the people 
murmured against them and against God to such an 
extent that the Lord was about to destroy them from the 
face of the earth, when the prayers of Moses and Aaron 
would prevail in their favor. 

At one time, when Moses was upon Mount Sinai, and 
had received the ten commandments, engraven on stone 
tablets, the people made and worshiped a golden calf, and 
brought upon themselves the displeasure of the Lord, in- 
somuch that they were about to be consumed. 

"And Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, 
Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, 
which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt 
with great power and with a mighty hand? 

Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For 
mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the 
mountains, and to consume them from the face of the 
earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this 
evil against thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and 
Israel, thy servants, to whom thou warest by thine own 
self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as 
the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken 
of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for 
ever." Exodus 32: n-13. 

This earnest appeal of Moses was not passed by 
unheeded. The Lord had compassion upon the people, 
through this prayer of Moses, and did not destroy the 
people, as he had thought to do. 

Moses often came in close proximity with the Lord. 
" And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man 
speaketh unto his friend." 

116 The Secret of Prayer 

" And Moses said unto the Lord, See, thou sayest unto 
me, Bring up this people : and thou hast not let me know 
whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know 
thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my 
sight. Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace 
in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, 
that I may find grace in thy sight : and consider that this 
nation is thy people. 

And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will 
give thee rest. 

And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with 
me, carry us not up hence. For wherein shall it be known 
here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? 
is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be 
separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are 
upon the face of the earth. 

And the Lord said unto Moses, I will do this thing 
also that thou hast spoken : for thou hast found grace in 
my sight, and I know thee by name." Exodus 33 : 12-17. 

At another time, after the spies had been sent over to 
view the lay of the land, upon their return, ten of them 
gave an evil report, and did not advise the people to 
undertake to go over into Canaan to possess the land at 
that time. The children of Israel then began to murmur 
against Moses and against Aaron, and it was then that 
Moses and Aaron were made to flee to the Lord in 
earnest prayer : " Then Moses and Aaron fell on their 
faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the 
children of Israel." 

When the two other spies gave a favorable report, the 
children of Israel were about to stone them with stones. 
This so displeased the Lord that he said, " I will smite 
them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will 
make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they." 

Moses and Aaron 117 

" And Moses said unto the Lord, Then the Egyptians 
shall hear it, (for thou broughtest up this people in thy 
might from among them;) and they will tell it to the 
inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that thou 
Lord are among this people, that thou Lord art seen face 
to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that 
thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of cloud, 
and in a pillar of fire by night. Now if thou shalt kill 
all this people as one man, then the nations which have 
heard the fame of thee will speak, saying, Because the 
Lord was not able to bring this people into' the land which 
he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the 

And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be 
great, according as thou hast spoken, saying, The Lord 
is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity 
and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, 
visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto 
the third and fourth generation. Pardon, I beseech thee, 
the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness 
of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from 
Egypt even until now." Numbers 14: 13-19. 

" And the Lord said, I have pardoned according to thy 
word." Numbers 14 : 20. 

Moses had accepted the call from the Lord, and had 
assumed the responsibilities which the Lord had laid upon 
him, and was, from that time, in a position where much 
depended upon his trueness to God. He manifested such 
a spirit of meekness at times that he has always been 
looked upon as the meek man of the Bible. He had many 
trials and testing times when his only help was in God. 
His example in prayer, and his pleadings with God in 
behalf of others should be an inspiration and encourage- 
ment to every Christian. His perfect confidence in the 

118 The Secret of Prayer 

Lord was frequently manifested, perhaps, not more 
vividly than at the Red Sea, when they were pursued by 
Pharaoh's army, and were facing the sea, which was 
impassable to all appearances at that time, yet in all con- 
fidence, " Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand 
still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will 
shew to you today : for the Egyptians whom ye have seen 
today, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The 
Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace." 
Exodus 14: 13, 14. 


The Promise to Joshua 

JOSHUA was one of the twelve spies that were 
sent over into the land of Canaan to spy out the 
land and report as to the advisability of the children 
of Israel going over at once to take possession of it. 
Upon their return, ten of the spies gave an adverse 

" And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of 
Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, 
rent their clothes: and they spake unto all the company 
of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we 
passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. 
If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into 
this land, and give it us ; a land which floweth with milk 
and honey. Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither 
fear ye the people of the land ; for they are bread for us : 
their defence is departed from them, and the Lord is with 
us : fear them not. 

But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. 
And the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of 
the congregation before all the children of Israel." 
Numbers 14: 6-10. 

For this faithfulness of Joshua, the blessings of the 
Lord rested upon him. He was a minister under Moses; 
and the Lord promised that he should be one of the 
number who should enter into the land of Canaan. Only 


120 The Secret of Prayer 

a short time before the death of Moses, Joshua was 
informed that the Lord had made choice of him to assume 
the leadership of the children of Israel, and take them 
over into the land of Canaan. Moses told the children of 
Israel that Joshua should be their leader in the land of 
Canaan and among the Canaanites, and said to him, "Be 
strong and of a good courage ; fear not, nor be afraid of 
them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with 
thee ; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee." 

" And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in 
the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage : 
for thou must go with this people unto the land which 
the Lord hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; 
and thou shalt cause them to inherit it. And the Lord, he 
it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he 
will not fail thee, neither forsake thee : fear not, neither 
be dismayed." Deuteronomy 31 : 7, 8. 

No doubt, Joshua had had considerable experience 
in dealing with the people during the forty years which 
they remained in the wilderness, and these words from 
Moses were an encouragement to him. 

" Now after the death of Moses the servant of the 
Lord it came to pass, that the Lord spake unto Joshua 
the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying, Moses my ser- 
vant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, 
thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give 
to them, even to the children of Israel. Every place that 
the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given 
unto you, as I said unto Moses. From the wilderness 
and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river 
Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great 
sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your 

There shall not any man be able to stand before thee 

The Promise to Joshua 121 

all the days of thy life : as I was with Moses, so I will be 
with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be 
strong and of a good courage : for unto this people shalt 
thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware 
unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and 
very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do accord- 
ing to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded 
thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, 
that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. 
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth ; 
but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou 
mayest observe to do according to all that is written 
therein : for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, 
and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I com- 
manded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not 
afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God 
is with thee whithersoever thou goest." Joshua 1 : 1-9. 

Time and again, in his instruction of Joshua, the Lord 
seemed to try to impress upon him the great necessity 
of being of a good courage. He knew that Joshua would 
have opportunities of exercising his faith, and that trials 
would be heaped upon him to such an extent that it would 
require the utmost courage to go through victoriously. 
However, with all the instruction given to Joshua, and 
the admonitions to be true to the Lord and courageous, 
there was a precious promise : " The Lord thy God is 
with thee whithersoever thou goest." 


Joshua in Trouble 

THE blessings of the Lord rested upon Joshua 
according to the promises that had been given 
him, and when the proper time came., at the 
command of the Lord, Joshua led the children of Israel 
to the brink of Jordan. By his implicit faith and con- 
fidence in God, he was enabled to be an instrument in the 
hands of the Lord for a mighty manifestation of his 
power as with Moses at the Red Sea. He instructed the 
priests, who bore the ark of the covenant, to step into 
the waters, and at his command to go forward, the 
water then parted, and the hosts of Israel passed through 
on dry ground into the land of Canaan. They were now 
in their own promised land — in the land that was said 
to be a place which flowed with milk and honey. They 
were now in a country inhabited by their enemies, whom 
they were soon to meet, but the inhabitants of the land 
had heard of the mighty works of God through his ser- 
vant Moses, and now as the waters had parted for 
Joshua and he led the hosts of Israel into their land, 
they quaked with fear. 

No doubt, Joshua often went to the Lord in prayer and 
communion for the purpose of receiving the needed wis- 
dom and help in time of need. They were soon to make the 
first attack upon the city of Jericho. The Lord had prom- 
ised that if they were true to him he would fight their bat- 


Joshua in Trouble 123 

ties for them. By following the directions of the Lord, the 
City of Jericho was easily captured. Their instructions 
were to take nothing from the spoils of the city, but while 
the city was being destroyed, someone did take something 
from the spoils, which act greatly displeased the Lord. 

Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, telling them to 
go up and view the country. Upon their return, they 
gave a favorable report, and told Joshua that they did 
not think it necessary for all the hosts of Israel to go up 
there to take the city, but that two or three thousand men 
would be sufficient. Having had such marvelous success 
at Jericho, they were confident that nothing but victory 
awaited them in the taking of the next city. About 
three thousand men were despatched for that purpose, 
but when they were about to make the attack they had 
to flee before the people of Ai. " And the men of Ai 
smote of them about thirty and six men : for they chased 
them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote 
them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the 
people melted, and became as water." 

Now came the testing time for Joshua. He knew 
nothing about the smuggling of goods from the city 
of Jericho, and therefore did not know the cause of the 
defeat of his soldiers. Having had such positive promises 
from the Lord, Joshua could not understand why there 
should be such a marked change in affairs, and so sudden 
a defeat. 

" And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth 
upon his face before the ark of the Lord until eventide, 
he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their 
heads." Joshua 7 : 6. 

It was then that he raised up his voice in prayer, 
and said, " Alas, O Lord God, wherefore hast thou at all 
brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the 

124 The Secret of Prayer 

hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? would to God we 
had been content, and dwelt on the other side of Jordan ! 
O Lord, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs 
before their enemies ! For the Canaanites and all the 
inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ 
us round, and cut off our name from the earth: and 
what wilt thou do unto thy great name ? " Joshua 7 : 7-9. 

Joshua was almost at the point of discouragement. It 
is now readily to be seen why Moses and the Lord 
particularly charged Joshua to be strong and courageous. 

" And the Lord said unto Joshua, Get thee up ; where- 
fore liest thou thus upon thy face ? Israel hath sinned, and 
they have also transgressed my covenant which I com- 
manded them : for they have even taken of the accursed 
thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and 
they have put it even among their own stuff." Joshua 
7:10, 11. 

The Lord not only heard Joshua's prayer, but he an- 
swered by telling him just what had happened, and left 
with Joshua the responsibility of finding out the one 
guilty of such a deed. Joshua prepared to make investi- 
gation. He told the children of Israel what had hap- 
pened, and called them before him by tribes, families 
and households, until the guilty one was found. " And 
Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory 
to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto 
him; and tell me now what hast thou done; hide it not 
from me. 

And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have 
sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and thus and thus 
have I done. When I saw among the spoils a goodly 
Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, 
and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I cov- 
eted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in 

Joshua in Trouble 125 

the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it." 
Joshua 7: 19-21. 

Achan received the penalty of death, after which the 
favor of the Lord was with Israel, and Joshua was 
assured of success. " And the Lord said unto Joshua, 
Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people 
of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have 
given unto thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and 
his city, and his land: and thou shalt do to Ai and her 
king as thou didst unto Jericho and her king: only the 
spoil thereof, shall ye take for a prey unto yourselves : 
lay thee in ambush for the city behind it." The city was 
taken with a great victory. 

At another time, when Joshua was in a hot conflict with 
the Amorites, he called upon the Lord, and again exer- 
cised such confidence and boldness that " He said in the 
sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon: and 
thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood 
still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged 
themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the 
book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of 
heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. 
And there was no day like that before it or after it, that 
the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man : for the 
Lord fought for Israel." Joshua 10: 12-14. 

Among the lessons to be learned from the life of 
Joshua is his trueness to God, his confidence and boldness, 
and his determination to do the will of God and walk 
uprightly so as to find favor in his sight, in order that 
he might be able to commune with him in prayer, and 
prevail, obtaining help in time of need. 


How the Prophets Prayed 

THE true prophets of the Lord were men of prayer 
— men who relied upon God for their wisdom 
and understanding, who were faithful in prayer 
and communion with the One who is mighty to deliver. 

That noted man of prayer, Elijah, the prophet, James 
sets forth as an example (James 5 : 17), and gives us to 
understand that he was a man like the people of his day. 
Nevertheless, because of his earnest entreaties unto the 
Lord, he stands forth as a towering monument of faith 
among the faithful. Reference is made to him as being 
a righteous man, with the encouraging words to us that 
the "prayer of a righteous man availeth much." His 
prayer that it might not rain is not recorded, but there 
is a mere statement that he prayed such a prayer and that 
it rained not on the earth for the space of three years 
and six months. He prayed again, and soon the heavens 
were black with the approaching storm and the rain fell 
in torrents. 

The experience of Elijah at the brook Cherith, the 
supplying of the widow with food from the handful of 
meal, the continual increase of oil in the cruse, and his 
experience with the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel, 
were manifestations of the power of God through his 
servant, which, no doubt, increased the confidence of 
Elijah towards God. In like manner, this should encour- 


How the Prophets Prayed 127, 

age the people of today to place greater confidence in 
the Lord, and to exercise greater faith. 

In his lamentations before the Lord, Jeremiah, in be- 
wailing the pitiful condition of the children of Israel, 
lifted up his voice unto the Lord: 

" I called upon thy name, O Lord, out of the low dun- 
geon. Thou hast heard my voice: hide not thine ear at 
my breathing, at my cry. Thou drewest near in the day 
that I called upon thee : thou saidst, Fear not. O Lord, 
thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast 
redeemed my life. O Lord, Thou hast seen my wrong: 
judge thou my cause. Thou hast seen all their vengeance 
and all their imaginations against me. Thou hast heard 
their reproach, O Lord, and all their imaginations against 
me; The lips of those that rose up against me, and their 
device against me all the day. Behold their sitting down, 
and their rising up. I am their musick." Lamenta- 
tions 3 : 55-63. 

Jeremiah had known what it was to be cast into prison, 
to be compelled to stand in the mire in a dark dungeon ; 
he knew what it was to suffer as a servant of the Lord 
and in behalf of his people, and the Lord considered 
his faithful servant and heard his plaintive plea. 

When Nehemiah heard of the sad condition of the 
Jews, at Jerusalem, although he was several hundred 
miles distant, he was greatly concerned about the matter 
and went to the Lord in earnest prayer. 

" And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that 
I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and 
fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven, and said, 
I beseech thee, O Lord God of heaven, the great and 
terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them 
that love him and observe his commandments : let thine 
ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou 

128 The Secret of Prayer 

mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray 
before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel, 
thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of 
Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and 
my father's house have sinned. We have dealt very cor- 
ruptly against thee, and have not kept thy command- 
ments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou 
commandedst thy servant Moses. 

Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou com- 
mandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, 
I will scatter you abroad among the nations: but if ye 
turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them ; 
though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost 
part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, 
and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to 
set my name there. 

Now these are thy servants and thy people, whom 
thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong 
hand. O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be 
attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer 
of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and 
prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him 
mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king's 

There is a beautiful lesson to be learned from this 
petition of Nehemiah. He held a high position in the 
kingdom, and notwithstanding this, he was anxious to go 
to Jerusalem and aid his poor brethren, who were suffer- 
ing, and there suffer with them, and bear the persecution 
heaped upon them by their enemies. Through this prayer, 
the Lord opened a way whereby his desires might be 
realized. In making his petition unto the Lord, it will 
be noted that he humbled himself, and acknowledged 
his wrong and the wrongs which had been committed 

How the Prophets Prayed 129 

by the people, and then referred the Lord to his prom- 
ises. He first met the conditions required in order to 
receive help and could then justly expect the desired help 
from the Lord. 

In answering this prayer the Lord manifested his 
great compassion and love in fulfilling his promises to 
those who turned to him in obedience, even though they 
may have wandered far away from the paths of right- 
eousness. It is a lack of obedience which so often hin- 
ders answers to prayer. Obedience begets confidence, 
and I with the proper confidence, it is an easy matter to 
exercise faith, and the prayer of faith will result in 
bringing about the desire of the heart. 


The Kings 

AMONG the prominent kings, whose prayers are 
recorded in the Bible, are David and Solomon. 
The Lord, at one time, gave David instruc- 
tions concerning the building of the Temple, which he 
called the " House of the Lord." David offered up a 
prayer of thanksgiving: 

" Then went King David in, and sat before the Lord, 
and he said, Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my 
house, that thou hast brought me hitherto? And this 
was yet a small thing in thy sight, O Lord God; but 
thou hast spoken also of thy servant's house for a great 
while to come. And is this the manner of man, O Lord 
God ? And what can David say more unto thee ? for thou, 
Lord God, knowest thy servant. For thy word's sake, 
and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all 
these great things, to make thy servant know them. 

Wherefore thou are great, O Lord God: for there is 
none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, 
according to all that we have heard with our ears. And 
what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like 
Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to him- 
self, and to make him a name, and to do for you great 
things and terrible, for thy land, before thy people, which 
thou redeemedst to thee from Egypt, from the nations 
and their gods? For thou has confirmed to thyself thy 


The Kings 131 

people Israel to be a people unto thee for ever: and 
thou, Lord, art become their God. 

And now, O Lord God, the word that thou hast 
spoken concerning thy servant, and concerning his house, 
establish it for ever, and do as thou hast said. And let 
thy name be magnified for ever, saying, The Lord of 
hosts is the God over Israel : and let the house of thy ser- 
vant David be established before thee. For thou, O 
Lord of hosts, God of Israel, hast revealed to thy servant, 
saying, I will build thee an house: therefore hath thy 
servant found in his heart to pray this prayer to thee. 

And now, O Lord God, thou art that God, and thy 
words be true, and thou hast promised this goodness 
unto thy servant : therefore now let it please thee to bless 
the house of thy servant, that it may continue for ever 
before thee : for thou, O Lord God, hast spoken it : and 
with thy blessing let the house of thy servant be blessed 
for ever." 2 Samuel 7: 18-29. 

After the death of David, his son, Solomon, sat upon 
the throne and ruled Israel. He carried out the plans 
of his father in the erection of the Temple; and when 
it was finished, he assembled the elders and the men of 
Israel at Jerusalem, for the dedication of the Temple, 
and they held a great feast in honor of its completion. 
It was here that Solomon offered one of the notable 
prayers of the Bible : 

"And Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the 
presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread 
forth his hands toward heaven : 

And he said, Lord God of Israel, there is no God like 
thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest 
covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before 
thee with all their heart : who hast kept with thy servant 
David my father that thou promisedst him : thou spakest 

132 The Secret of Prayer 

also with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine hand, 
as it is this day. Therefore now, Lord God of Israel, 
keep with thy servant David my father that thou prom- 
isedst him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my 
sight to sit on the throne of Israel; so that thy children 
take heed to their way, that they walk before me as thou 
hast walked before me. And now, O God of Israel, let 
thy word, I pray thee, be verified, which thou spakest 
unto thy servant David my father. 

But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the 
heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how 
much less this house that I have builded? Yet have thou 
respect unto the prayer of thy servant, and to his sup- 
plication, O Lord my God, to hearken unto the cry and 
to the prayer, which thy servant prayeth before thee to- 
day: that thine eyes may be opened toward this house 
night and day, even toward the place of which thou hast 
said, My name shall be there : that thou mayest hearken 
unto the prayer which thy servant shall make toward 
this place. And hearken thou to the supplication of thy 
servant, and of thy people Israel, when they shall pray 
before this place : and hear thou in heaven thy dwelling 
place: and when thou hearest, forgive. 

If any man trespass against his neighbour, and an oath 
be laid upon him to cause him to swear, and the oath 
come before thine altar in this house : then hear thou in 
heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, condemning the 
wicked, to bring his way upon his head; and justifying 
the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness. 
When thy people Israel be smitten down before the 
enemy, because they have sinned against thee, and shall 
turn again to thee, and confess thy name, and pray, and 
make supplication unto thee in this house : then hear thou 
in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and 

The Kings 183 

bring them again unto the land which thou gavest unto 
their fathers. When heaven is shut up, and there is no 
rain, because they have sinned against thee ; if they pray 
toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from 
their sin, when thou afflictest them; then hear thou in 
heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy 
people Israel that thou teach them the good way wherein 
they should walk, and give rain upon thy land, which 
thou hast given to thy people for an inheritance. 

If there be in the land famine, if there be pestilence, 
blasting, mildew, locust, or if there be caterpiller ; if their 
enemy besiege them in the land of their cities; whatso- 
ever plague, whatsoever sickness there be; what prayer 
and supplication soever be made by any man, or by all 
thy people Israel, which shall know every man the plague 
of his own heart, and spread forth his hands toward this 
house: then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and 
forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his 
ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou 
only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;) 
that they may fear thee all the days that they live in the 
land which thou gavest unto our fathers. . . . 

And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end 
of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the Lord, 
he arose from before the altar of the Lord, from kneeling 
on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven. And he 
stood and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a 
loud voice, saying, Blessed be the Lord, that hath given 
rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he prom- 
ised: there hath not failed one word of all his good 
promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his ser- 
vant. The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our 
fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us: that he 
may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, 

134 The Secret of Prayer 

and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his 
judgments, which he commanded our fathers. 

And let these my words, wherewith I have made suppli- 
cation before the Lord, be nigh unto the Lord our God 
day and night, that he may maintain the cause of his ser- 
vant, and the cause of his people Israel at all times, as the 
matter shall require ; that all the people of the earth may 
know that the Lord is God, and that there is none else. 
Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our 
God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his command- 
ments, as at this day." i Kings 8 : 22-61. 

This is one of the longest prayers recorded in the 
Bible, and was not passed by unheeded by the Lord. 

" And the Lord said unto him, I have heard thy prayer 
and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me : I 
have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put 
my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart 
shall be there perpetually. And if thou wilt walk before 
me, as David thy father walked, in integrity of heart, and 
in uprightness, to do according to all that I have com- 
manded thee, and will keep my statutes and my judg- 
ments: then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom 
upon Israel for ever, as I promised to David thy father, 
saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne 
of Israel." 1 Kings 9 : 3-5. 

Now we come to another king of Israel, who prayed 
a prayer under altogether different circumstances, and 
this is one of the short prayers of the Bible, yet the Lord 
heard and answered. 

" In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And 
the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him and said 
unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order ; 
for thou shalt die, and not live. 

Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayd unto 

The Kings 135 

the Lord, saying, I beseech thee, O Lord, remember now 
how I have walked before thee in truth and with a per- 
fect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. 
And Hezekiah wept sore. 

And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into 
the middle court, that the word of the Lord came to him, 
saying, Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my 
people, Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, 
I have seen thy tears : behold, I will heal thee : on the 
third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the Lord. 
And I will add unto thy days fifteen years. 2 Kings 
20 : 1-6. 

Here we notice that after Hezekiah prayed he wept. 
He told the Lord how he had walked uprightly before 
him, with a perfect heart. It is to be observed that the 
Lord not only paid particular attention to the prayer, but 
also to the tears of Hezekiah. His message, through the 
prophet, was " I have heard thy prayer ; I have seen thy 
tears," and the promise was " I will heal thee." 

This prayer of the king should be an incentive to us 
in time of trouble, sickness or adversity — in fact, in any 
critical time of our lives, to come to the Lord in real fer- 
vency of heart, knowing that what he did for Hezekiah 
he is able to do for us, and he who was touched with the 
earnestness of that prayer will also be touched with an 
equal fervency of our prayers. 


The Faithfulness of Daniel 

THE Jewish captive who was held in bondage in 
Babylonia, was much blessed of the Lord, and 
because of his trueness to God, his faithfulness 
in his labors and concerning that which was entrusted in 
his care, he found favor in the sight of the king, and 
became a useful instrument in the hands of the Lord, 
being known as the prophet Daniel. 

There were many very interesting and striking inci- 
dents in the life of Daniel, among the first of which, we 
have mentioned, is that of his refusal to partake of the 
king's meat and wine, preferring to follow the teachings 
of his fathers and to be true to God. 

The Lord bestowed upon him knowledge and skill in 
all learning and wisdom, and gave him an understanding 
in all visions and dreams. 

The story of Daniel is one told so often that it may 
almost seem out of place to repeat it here, nevertheless 
there are such beautiful lessons to be learned that it is 
deemed necessary to call attention to some of the things 
concerning his faithfulness, as an inspiration to our faith 
and trueness to God. 

When King Nebuchadnezzar became troubled over his 
dream, he called the magicians and wise men of the coun- 
try and said to them, " I have dreamed a dream, and my 


The Faithfulness of Daniel 137 

spirit was troubled to know the dream." They requested 
the king to tell them the dream, that they might tell him 
the interpretation, but he said it had gone from him and 
he could not tell them. He told them that unless they 
could make known unto him the dream and the interpre- 
tation thereof he would have them cut into pieces. The 
Chaldeans declared there was not a man upon the earth 
who could make the matter known unto the king. The 
king became angry and commanded that all the wise men 
of Babylon be destroyed, and sent forth a decree to have 
them slain, and they sought Daniel and his fellows to put 
them to death. 

Daniel, who had been faithful in his communion with 
the Lord, besought him in earnest prayer; not only so, 
but he desired of the king that he should give him time, 
telling him that he would show the king the interpreta- 
tion. Daniel then made the matter known to three of his 
companions and desired that they pray to the Lord con- 
cerning this secret. It was an unusual requirement; it 
was something beyond the power of any person to know 
of themselves, and only the God of heaven was able to 
reveal that which was required. Daniel, who had known 
of the many wonderful answers to prayer among the 
prophets, the kings, and the people of Israel, believed 
that God was able to unfold to him the mysteries of this 
dream. He believed that if he and his brethren would go 
in earnest prayer before the Lord, that he would be 
enabled to accomplish the desire of his heart. 

" Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night 
vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel 
answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever 
and ever : for wisdom and might are his : and he changeth 
the times and the seasons : he removeth kings, and setteth 
up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowl- 

138 The Secret of Prayer 

edge to them that know understanding : he revealeth the 
deep and secret things : he knoweth what is in the dark- 
ness, and the light dwelleth with him. 

I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my 
fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast 
made known unto me now what we desired of thee : for 
thou hast now made known unto us the king's matter." 
Daniel 2 : 19-23. 

Daniel then requested that he be brought before the 
king, and the king said to him, "Art thou able to make 
known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the 
interpretation thereof? " 

Daniel answered him, "There is a God in heaven that 
revealeth secrets." He then told the king his dream and 
the interpretation thereof. 

" The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth 
it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, 
and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldst reveal this 

Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him 
many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole 
province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all 
the wise men of Babylon." 

As time went on, decrees were made against the chil- 
dren of God, but the power of God was manifest in their 

The king had another dream, which the magicians and 
astrologers were unable to interpret, and Daniel was 
again called before the king and was enabled to interpret 
the dream. All things came to pass according to Daniel's 

When King Darius sat upon the throne, Daniel became 
one of the greatest men of the kingdom, and this caused 
considerable enmity on the part of the presidents and 

The Faithfulness of Daniel 139 

princes, and they sought an occasion to have Daniel de- 
stroyed. They reasoned among themselves as to how this 
might be accomplished. 

"Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion 
against this Daniel, except we find it against him concern- 
ing the law of his God." Daniel 6:5. 

They were sure that Daniel would be faithful to his 
God and faithful in prayer, and that he would not bow 
down to the heathen gods, nor to any man. Therefore, 
they arranged a scheme by which they might entrap him, 
and asked the king to sign a decree " that whosoever 
shall ask a petition of any god or man for thirty days, 
save of thee, O King, he shall be cast into the den of 

Having in his mind how great this would make him 
appear in the sight of the people, and before the world, 
and not realizing the effect it would have upon Daniel, 
he signed the decree. Now came the testing time with 
Daniel, he knowing that such a decree had been signed, 
and realizing the anxiety of the people, who desired to 
destroy him, to know whether or not he would be true. 

" Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, 
he went into his house; and his windows being open in 
his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees 
three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before 
his God, as he did aforetime." Daniel 6 : 10. 

" Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying 
and making supplication before his God." No doubt, 
they went with great rejoicing to the king, who had 
signed a decree which could not be changed. They in- 
sisted that Daniel be cast into the den of lions, accord- 
ingly. The king was very sorrowful and displeased, and 
labored until the going down of the sun to deliver him, 
but there was no way of retracting from his decree. The 

140 The Secret of Prayer 

king commanded that Daniel be cast into the den of lions, 
but as he was about to be thrown in among those terrible 
beasts, the king said to Daniel, " Thy God, whom thou 
servest continually, he will deliver thee." 

Daniel was cast in among the lions, and a stone laid 
upon the mouth of the den and sealed with the king's 
own signet, in order that there be no intervention in the 
carrying out of their designs. Daniel had lived so faith- 
ful in performing his duties and living the life of a 
righteous man that the king not only had great confidence 
in him, but confidence in his God. 

" Then the king went to his palace and passed the night 
fasting : neither were instruments of musick brought be- 
fore him : and his sleep went from him." 

Very early the next morning the king hastened to the 
den of lions, and cried with a lamentable voice unto 
Daniel, saying, 

" O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, 
whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from 
the lions ? " 

" Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. 
My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' 
mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as be- 
fore him innocency was found in me; and also before 
thee, O king, I have done no hurt." 

The king was exceedingly glad, and had Daniel taken 
out, and found him to be unharmed. 

It Is said that when the people who had him cast into 
the den learned that the lions did not eat Daniel, they 
reported to the king that it was because the lions had been 
well fed. The king was so displeased because of their 
actions and their irreverence to the God of heaven, that 
he had them cast into the den of lions, but they did not 
fare so well as Daniel. " The lions had the mastery of 

The Faithfulness of Daniel 141 

them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they 
came at the bottom of the den." 

This exemplified the faithful life of Daniel, and the 
power of his God, and caused the king to make another 
decree : 

"Then King Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and 
languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied 
unto you. I make a decree, That in every dominion of 
my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of 
Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, 
and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and 
his dominion shall be even unto the end. He delivereth 
and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in 
heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the 
power of the lions." Daniel 6 : 25-27. 

What the faithfulness of one man could do is worthy 
of consideration. All the people, nations and languages 
under the jurisdiction of Darius were to worship the God 
of Daniel, and all was brought about through faithfulness 
in prayer in his secret chamber. There is no child of God 
too weak or unworthy for their influence to reach far 
beyond their place of prayer, and upon their faithfulness 
to God depends the salvation of many souls. 

In the ninth chapter of Daniel, is recorded a lengthy 
prayer, which he offered unto the Lord. In answer to this 
prayer, Daniel said that while he was yet speaking the 
Lord answered : " I am now come forth to give thee skill 
and undertsanding. At the beginning of thy supplica- 
tions the commandment came forth, and I am come to 
shew thee ; for thou art greatly beloved : therefore under- 
stand the matter, and consider the vision." 

At one time Daniel spent three weeks in supplication 
before the Lord, at the end of which time the Lord gave 
him to understand that he heard him from the beginning. 

142 The Secret of Prayer 

" In those days I Daniel was mourning three full 
weeks. . . . Then said he unto me, Fear not, 
Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine 
heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy 
God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy 
words." Daniel 10 : 2-12. 

This would be an encouragement to us, knowing that 
the Lord hears even from the beginning of our petitions, 
and that though we may continue with importunity there 
is certain victory in the end. 


David and Solomon 

HE, whom the Lord called to be king over Israel, 
was once only a shepherd boy, who had learned 
to lead his flocks to green pastures and by the 
running waters of the brook. 

By the help of the Lord, when he was yet but a lad, 
he was not only enabled to kill a bear and a lion, but met 
in battle the giant Goliath, who had been defying the 
armies of Israel, and no one dared go out to meet him. 
David, with his pebbles from the brook, went forth in the 
name of the God of heaven and slew the giant, and de- 
feated the armies of the enemies of Israel, thus glori- 
fying the name of the Lord, and for which he was held 
in high esteem by the people of Israel. His valor on this 
occasion, no doubt, caused him to be called to a higher 
position, and he was finally crowned king. 

He fought battles with the sword, and ofttimes his 
enemies encamped round about him, giving him trouble 
on every hand, until at times he was almost discouraged. 
When he would begin to wander from the Lord, he would 
sometimes feel that his feet were " well nigh slipped." 
He would then flee to the Lord in earnest prayer, con- 
fess his wrong, and lay hold upon the promises of God, 
after which he would become bold and feel that he could 
face his most dangerous enemy. At one time, we hear 


144 The Secret of Prayer 

him say, "For by thee I have run through a troop ; and by 
my God have I leaped over a wall." 

Even after he became king, no doubt his mind often 
wandered back to his early shepherd days when he led his 
flocks. In later years, when great responsibilities rested 
upon him, and his enemies encamped round about him, 
he realized the Lord as a protector of himself and his 
people, and he said: 

" The Lord is my shepherd ; I shall not want. He 
maketh me to lie down in green pastures ; he leadeth me 
beside the still waters. 

He restoreth my soul : he leadeth me in the paths of 
righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk 
through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no 
evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they 
comfort me. 

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of 
mine enemies : thou annointest my head with oil ; my cup 
runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow 
me all the days of my life : and I will dwell in the house 
of the Lord for ever." Psalms 23. 

Now, we come to Solomon, the son of David, the wise 
man of all the earth; he, of whom it was said by the 
queen of Sheba, after she had heard of the great wisdom 
of Solomon, and had visited him, that the half had not 
been told. It will be of interest to know how Solomon 
acquired such wisdom and understanding. We are in- 
formed in the Word of God that " Solomon loved the 
Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father." 

" In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream 
by night : and God said, Ask what I shall give thee. And 
Solomon said, Thou hast shown unto thy servant David 
my father great mercy, according as he walked before 
thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of 

David and Solomon 145 

heaft with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great 
kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his 
throne, as it is this day. 

And now, O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant 
king instead of David my father: and I am but a little 
child: I know not how to go out or come in. And thy 
servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast 
chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor 
counted for multitude. Give therefore thy servant an 
understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may dis- 
cern between good and bad : for who is able to judge this 
thy so great a people ? " i Kings 3 : 5-9. 

" And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had 
asked this thing. 

And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this 
thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life ; neither hast 
asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine 
enemies ; but hast asked for thyself understanding to dis- 
cern judgment ; behold, I have done according to thy 
words : lo, I have given thee a wise and understanding 
heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, 
neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. 

And I have also given thee that which thou hast not 
asked, both riches, and honour : so that there shall not be 
any among the kings like unto thee all thy days. And if 
thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my 
commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will 
lengthen thy days." 1 Kings 3 : 10-14. 

King Solomon was not only able to confound the 
queen of Sheba with his wonderful wisdom, but wrote 
many proverbs and wise sayings. He built the temple, 
and became a wise ruler. So long as he obeyed the com- 
mands, the blessings of the Lord were upon him. 


The Apostles 

BY permitting our minds to dwell in meditation upon 
the beautiful sea of Galilee, we are carried back 
to apostolic days. Although this sea may not be 
more beautiful than many other bodies of water, yet it is 
made so to us on account of the sweet remembrances of 
the scenes and occurrences of those early days, of the 
work of the Saviour and the ministry of his followers. It 
was here, when walking along the seashore that Jesus 
began to call his disciples. 

He chose twelve men for the work of the ministry. 
Their apostleship was born in the travail of prayer. 
Just before ordaining the twelve, Jesus spent the entire 
night in prayer. It was a weighty matter, and one of 
great responsibility to select and send forth men to preach 
the everlasting gospel and show forth the plan of salva- 
tion. Therefore, we should realize the necessity of 
earnest continued prayer when considering matters of 
importance today among the people of God. In selecting 
men for these great responsibilities, he did not go among 
the lawyers, doctors, and men of highest education, but 
sought them from the more common walks of life. He 
chose men who were willing to become his followers and 
be useful in doing the works he commanded, without 
stopping to argue or reason out matters from a stand- 


The Apostles 147 

point of science and philosophy. His command to them 
was " Follow me." Their obedience caused him to bestow 
upon them wonderful gifts and power, and to send them 
forth with a commission of power and authority. 

The closing scenes in the life of Jesus were trying 
times to the apostles. They were with him in the Garden 
of Gethsemane while he was passing through the great 
ordeal of his life, pleading unto the Father in earnest 
prayer. They partook of the feast of the last passover 
with him, receiving from his hands the bread which 
represented his broken body, and the cup which repre- 
sented his blood shed for the remission of sins. 

No doubt, one of the great testing times of their lives 
was when Jesus was arrested. For three years they had 
given their time in preaching the gospel and in following 
him. Now he was arrested, and they were in the midst 
of a howling mob. One of their number had turned 
traitor; another one denied his master. Then following 
the trial came the crucifixion scene, but this being fol- 
lowed by the resurrection of Jesus brought some courage 
to their hearts. Still, their lives were in danger because 
of their religious belief, insomuch that when they met 
together they had the door shut for fear of the Jews. 

Twice, while they were thus gathered together, Jesus 
suddenly appeared in their midst and departed from 
them again. While they were in Galilee, Jesus came and 
spoke to them, saying, "All power is given unto me in 
heaven and in earth." Then he gave them his last com- 
mission, saying, " Go ye therefore, and teach all nations." 
Matthew 28 : 19-20. 

Previous to this he had told them of his death?, and 
they had not fully understood. He had said that they 
should afterwards tarry at Jerusalem until they be 
endued with power. 

148 The Secret of Prayer 

In the first chapter of Acts, we have a record of his 
ascension into heaven, and the apostles gathered together 
at Jerusalem to wait upon the Lord in prayer. " These 
all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, 
with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with 
his brethren." It was then that Peter explained to them 
concerning the things that had taken place. 

It was while in that upper room, in that continued 
prayer-meeting, that they were enabled to realize the 
manifestation of the mighty power of God, which swept 
away from their minds all doubts and fears, and filled 
them with boldness. " And when the day of Pentecost 
was fully come, they were all with one accord in one 
place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven 
as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house 
where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them 
cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of 
them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and 
began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave 
them utterance." Acts 2 : 1-4. 

There were people from the various countries round 
about, and when Peter and the apostles began preaching 
to them, those were present who crucified Jesus, and 
Peter plainly told them of their great sins and iniquities. 

The people were surprised at the power manifest, and 
the knowledge which the apostles displayed, insomuch 
that the most wicked of them began to cry out, "Men 
and brethren, what shall we do? " The preaching was so 
effective that three thousand then and there yielded their 
hearts to God and believed on Jesus Christ and were 
baptized. " And they continued stedfastly in the 
apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of 
bread, and in prayers." It was undoubtedly a praying 
time among them, and one of praise and thanksgiving. 

The Apostles 149 

Their hearts had been changed and were now filled with 
the love and glory of God. 

However, all did not yield their hearts to God, but 
there were many who continued to oppose the truth that 
was preached. Soon after this the lame man was healed, 
which was followed by persecution, but they <■ Jntinued to 
preach the Word with great boldness, and mighty signs 
and wonders followed. This filled the high priests and 
Sadducees with indignation, and they " laid their hands 
on the apostles, and put them in the common prison," 
but the Lord sent an angel to deliver them, and they were 
soon preaching in the temple again. 

After the wonderful manifestations of the power of 
God in delivering them from prison, they were again 
brought before the rulers and reproved for their teaching. 
" Then Peter and the other apostles answered and 
said, We ought to obey God rather than men." They 
were beaten and charged to speak no more in that name. 

By this time the work had become so great that it was 
necessary to select certain persons to look after the 
matter of providing for the poor, and the apostles said, 
" We will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to 
the ministry of the word." After this they chose seven 
persons to look after the poor, and such things as were 
necessary in order to relieve the apostles of their burdens. 
After naming the seven, it says, " Whom they set before 
the apostles : and when they had prayed, they laid their 
hands on them." It seemed that almost everything of 
any great importance was accompanied by much prayer. 

As the apostles went forth fulfilling their commission, 
the power of God was manifest, many souls were saved, 
and persecution followed; and God was with them in 
manifestation of power wherever they went. 


Peter, His Weakness and Strength 

ACCORDING to the record given by Matthew, 
Peter was the first apostle Jesus called to follow 
him, with the promise that he would make him a 
fisher of men. He had been a fisherman by occupation, 
and now he was to catch men, by preaching the Word 
and bringing them into the kingdom. By reading the life 
of Peter, we find that he was very outspoken and for- 
ward in his undertakings, and notwithstanding his weak- 
ness, he seems to have been one upon whom Jesus 
specially relied. Peter had the privilege of being on the 
Mount of Transfiguration and witnessing that notable 
scene. He was also in the Garden of Gethsemane, but just 
before the death of Jesus, he said to Peter, " Satan hath 
desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat : but 
I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not : and when 
thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." Peter 
could scarcely believe that such could be the case, " And 
he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both 
into prison, and to death." Luke 22:31-33. 

Peter declared his trueness the second time, saying; 
" Although all shall be offended, yet will not I, and Jesus 
saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, 
even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt 
deny me thrice. But he spake the more vehemently, If 


Peter, His Weakness and Strength 151 

I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. 
Likewise also said they all." Mark 14:27-31. 

Soon after this they took Jesus to the house of the 
high priest, " And Peter followed afar off. And when 
they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were 
set down together, Peter sat down among them. But a 
certain man beheld him as he sat by the fire, and ear- 
nestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also 
with him." 

" And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him 

" And after a little while another saw him, and said, 
Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not." 

" And about the space of one hour after another con- 
fidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was 
with him: for he is a Galilaean. And Peter said, Man, 
I know not what thou sayest. 

And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. 

And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And 
Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had 
said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny 
me thrice. 

And Peter went out and wept bitterly." Luke 
22 : 54-62. 

This was a sad time for Peter. It was a manifesta- 
tion of his weakness. Before this he had thought he was 
so strong; Jesus had warned him, and told him what 
he would do, and now it had happened. However, that 
prayer of Jesus was not to be forgotten. He told Peter 
that he would pray for him, that his faith fail not. Did 
Peter's faith in Jesus fail? No. He had given away, 
yielded to sin, and on the spur of the moment had denied 
his master before his accusers. He had backslidden, and 
required repentence in order to again receive the favor 

152 The Secret of Prayer 

of the Lord, but he had not lost faith in Christ. The 
prayer of Jesus was answered, that even though he did 
deny him, yet he did not turn against him at heart, and 
take a stand with the enemies of Jesus and enter with 
them in persecuting the followers of Jesus. His repent- 
ance was genuine, and was regarded by the Lord, and 
later, after the resurrection, Jesus told those whom he 
met at the tomb to go and tell the disciples, " and Peter." 
It seems that he sent a special message to Peter, knowing 
that he would need special encouragement at this time. 

After the death and resurrection of Jesus, Peter 
concluded, however, that he would go back to his old 

He said to the disciples, " I go a fishing. They say 
unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth and 
entered into a ship immediately; and that night they 
caught nothing." In the morning Jesus appeared unto 
them, after a time telling them to launch out into the 
deep and cast their net on the right side of the ship. 
They did so, catching an abundant supply. 

After the day of Pentecost, there was a wonderful 
change in Peter. He had received the baptism of the 
Holy Ghost, and with boldness he stood up before those 
wicked Jews — those who crucified Christ — together 
with great crowds of people from the country round 
about. He preached with such boldness as to astonish all 
present. From that time forth, Peter was well known 
for his boldness and power with God. After the healing 
of the lame man, when they were brought before the 
rulers, Peter made such strong statements that these law- 
givers were astonished. 

" Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, 
and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant 
men, they marvelled ; and they took knowledge of them, 

Peter, His Weakness and Strength 153 

that they had been with Jesus. And beholding the man 
which was healed standing with them, they could say 
nothing against it." However, they commanded the dis- 
ciples to speak no more in the name of Jesus. 

" But Peter and John answered and said unto them, 
Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto 
you more than unto God, judge ye." The prayer-service 
held after this resulted in a wonderful awakening, and 
was followed by a mighty manifestation of the power of 
God. Soon after the people gathered together in one of 
the most wonderful divine healing services ever held. 

" And by the hands of the apostles were many signs 
and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were 
all with one accord in Solomon's porch. And of the rest 
durst no man join himself to them: but the people 
magnified them. And believers were the more added to 
the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) Inso- 
much that they brought forth the sick into the streets, 
and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the 
shadow of Peter passing by might over-shadow some of 
them. There came also a multitude out of the cities 
round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and 
them which were vexed with unclan spirits: and they 
were healed every one." Acts 5 : 12-16. 

Here Peter was again one of the most prominent of 
their number. No doubt, the fame of him had gone out 
because of the healing of the lame man through his 
instrumentality, and people having heard of it, thought 
that if they could only get in the shadow of Peter they 
would be healed. 

Peter had, at various time, the experience of being 
cast into prison, and of being miraculously delivered. 

Peter was a man of prayer, and in speaking of a vision 
at one time, he said, "I was in the city of Joppa pray- 

154 The Secret of Prayer 

ing." (Acts II : 15.) In this vision the Lord was trying 
to show Peter that the gospel was not only for the Jews 
but for the Gentiles as well and made known to him that 
he, with certain others, should go to the house of Cor- 
nelius, and there preach the gospel to the Gentiles. 

Ofttimes Peter spoke with authority to the sick. At 
one time, while visiting the saints who dwelt at Lydda, 
he found a certain man named ^Eneas, who had kept his 
bed for eight years, being sick of the palsy; and Peter 
said unto him, " ^Eneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole : 
arise and make thy bed. And he arose immediately." 
Acts 9 : 33-34. 

This caused many people to turn to the Lord. 

At Joppa, a woman, by the name of Dorcas, died, and 
after they had laid her in an upper chamber, the dis- 
ciples, learning that Peter was at Joppa, sent for him. 
Peter put all of the people out of the room, "and kneeled 
down and prayed; and turning him to the body said, 
Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when 
she saw Peter, she sat up. And he gave her his hand, 
and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and 
widows, presented her alive." Acts 9:40, 41. 

Peter's life was spent in preaching the gospel with 
boldness and power. 


Stephen and Cornelius 

STEPHEN was one of the seven persons chosen to 
look after the poor and the widows that were 
neglected, in the daily ministration of the means 
that had been cast at the disciples' feet for distribution. 
" And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of 
the Holy Ghost. . . . And Stephen, full of faith and 
power, did great wonders and miracles among the 
people." Acts 6 : 5 and 8. 

He was also a minister of the gospel, and preached 
the Word with great authority. In his last sermon, he 
rehearsed the history of the Jews, from the time of 
Abraham to the death of Jesus Christ, and even up to the 
very day of the message. The reproof was so strong 
and penetrating that it is said, " When they heard these 
things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on 
him with their teeth." 

His life paid for this message. " But he, being full 
of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and 
saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right 
hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, 
and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. 
They cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, 
and ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out 
of the city, and stoned him : and the witnesses laid down 
their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was 


156 The Secret of Prayer 

Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and 
saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Acts 7 : 55-59. 

While he was thus being stoned, " he kneeled down, 
and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their 
charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep." 
Although they stoned him to death for telling the truth, 
yet his last prayer and last words were in their behalf, 
that the Lord might not lay the sin to their charge. 
Surely this was a manifestation of love and compassion. 
His last moments were spent on his knees in prayer. 

Cornelius was not a Jew, but he had become favorable 
to the religion of the Jews, and believed in the coming 
Messiah. He was a Gentile, uncircumcised, and a cen- 
turion. Further than that, he was a devout man — a man 
of prayer. It is said of him that he was " one that feared 
God with all his house, which gave much alms to the 
people, and prayed to God alway," and the Lord 
answered him, saying, " Thy prayers and thine alms are 
come up for a memorial before God." Acts 10 : 2 and 4. 

The Lord told him to send men to Joppa for Simon 
Peter, advising him that Peter would be able to tell him 
what he ought to do. When the men arrived at Joppa, 
Peter was in prayer, and the Lord had given him a special 
revelation. It is recorded that " On the morrow, as they 
went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, 
Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the 
sixth hour." The men delivered their message to Peter, 
and he went to the house of Cornelius, where he made 
known to him what the Lord had shown him concerning 
the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles ; and he said, 
" Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of per- 
sons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and 
worketh righteousness, is accepted with him." Acts 
10:34. 35- 

Stephen and Cornelius 157 

While Peter preached, the Holy Ghost fell on all who 
listened, and the gift of the Holy Ghost was poured out 
upon the Gentiles ; and Peter said, " Can any man forbid 
water, that these should not be baptized, which have 
received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he com- 
manded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord." 

Thus we find that Stephen, of Jewish ancestry, and 
Cornelius, a Gentile, were both men of prayer, honored 
of God and filled with the Holy Spirit. 

Paul, in Time of Trial 

PAUL, who was formerly known as Saul of Tarsus, 
was a man of considerable education and 
ability. In his earlier days he was one of the 
most bitter opponents of the gospel of Jesus Christ and 
a persecutor of all Christians. It was while on his way 
to Damascus, with authority to cast the disciples of 
Christ into prison, or consent to their death, that he 
was stopped by the power of God. Some time afterwards, 
when brought before the rulers, he told of the incident 
in the following language: 

" And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and 
was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly 
there shone from Heaven a great light round about me. 
And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto 
me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And I 
answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, 
I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest. And 
they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were 
afraid ; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to 
me. And I said, What shall I do, Lord ? And the Lord 
said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus ; and there it 


Paul, in Time of Trial 159 

shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for 
thee to do." Acts 22:6-10. 

As wicked as he was, he was able to recognize the 
voice as being from heaven, and inquired, " Who art 
thou, Lord ? " He was there given to understand that 
through his persecution of the saints he was persecuting 
Jesus. The light was so great that he had to be led to 
Damascus, where he was instructed what to do. He 
yielded himself to the Lord, and afterwards came to 
Jerusalem, and was praying in the temple. There the 
Lord made known to him that he was to leave Jerusalem 
and go among the Gentiles. He said, " Lord, they know 
that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that 
believed on thee: and when the blood of thy martyr 
Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consent- 
ing unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that 
slew him." Acts 22 : 10, 20. 

He had been very bitter in his persecutions, but now 
was preaching the same gospel that he had before been 
opposing. Having so severely punished those who 
believed on Jesus, now that he was one with them in 
belief, he could more fully sympathize with those who 
were persecuted and knew how to pray for the per- 
secutors. From the time of his conversion, his life was 
one of continual trial and victory. At one time, while 
in Cassarea, a certain prophet took Paul's girdle, and 
bound his own hands and feet, and said, " Thus saith the 
Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the 
man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into 
the hands of the Gentiles." 

Many times Paul realized what it was to be bound in 
chains and cast into prison. He was, at one time, bound 
in prison, and was singing and praising God at the mid- 
night hour, when there came an earthquake, and the 

160 The Secret of Prayer 

prisoners were loosed and the prison doors were opened. 
It was that night that the jailer was converted and his 
entire household constrained to believe on the Lord 
Jesus Christ. 

Paul was a man of prayer, and it is often recorded 
that he sought the Lord in earnest supplication. In one 
place it speaks about his seeking the Lord thrice for a 
certain matter. While the Lord did not see fit to remove 
the cause of the burden of his heart, he gave him a satis- 
factory answer — " My grace is sufficient." It seemed 
that wherever he went bonds and imprisonment awaited 
him, but the Lord gave him an abundance of grace for 
every trial. When he came to Ephesus, he said to the 
elders at that place, " Ye know, from the first day that I 
came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you 
at all seasons, serving the Lord with all humility of mind, 
and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me 
by the lying in wait of the Jews." Acts 20 : 18, 19. 

He was, at one time, dragged out of the city by an 
angry mob, but the disciples gathered round his lifeless 
form, and no doubt in earnest prayer lifted their hearts 
to God in his behalf. Soon Paul was up and on his way 
to preach the gospel to other cities. 

1 At another time, a number of the Jews banded together 
and made a vow that they would neither eat nor drink 
until they had killed Paul. The plot was made known, 
and the Lord opened a way for Paul's deliverance. 

While on his way to Rome he had a terrible ex- 
perience of shipwreck, and although still a prisoner, 
when they landed on an island, he was used of the 
Lord in the healing of the sick and in causing many 
to believe. 

He was brought before rulers and governors, and in 
writing to the Corinthian brethren, he tells of his 

Paul, in Time of Trial 161 

abundant labors and the persecutions which he suffered 
— " In stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, 
in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty 
stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once 
was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a 
day I have been in the deep ; in journeyings often, in 
perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of mine 
own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the 
city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in 
perils among false brethren; in weariness and painful- 
ness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings 
often, in cold and nakedness. Besides those things that 
are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care 
of all the churches." 2 Corinthians 1 1 : 23-28. 

After all this, he says, " I reckon that the sufferings 
of this present time are not worthy to be compared with 
the glory which shall be revealed in us." Romans 8 : 18. 

Paul gave no place in his experience for backsliding. 
Hear him ask the question : " Who shall separate us 
from the love of Christ ? shall tribulation, or distress, or 
persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword ? " 
Then comes the positive answer. " Nay, in all these 
things we are more than conquerors through him that 
loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor 
life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things 
present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor 
any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the 
love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." 
Romans 8 : 37-39. 

Paul spent many years in the gospel work. He said, 
" I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to 
be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know 
how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am 
instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to 

162 The Secret of Prayer 

abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through 
Christ which strengthened me." Philippians 4:11-13. 
In the last days of his ripe old age, he was able to 
verify his former testimony, so that when the time came 
that arrangements had been made for his execution, he 
said, " I have kept the faith," 


The Prayer of the Church 

GO where you may on the face of the earth, 
wherever a spiritual church is to be found, there 
will invariably be a body of people who not 
only have great faith and confidence in God, but are 
given to much prayer. 

When the people of God had assembled at Jerusalem, 
after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, he commanded 
them to wait for the promise of the father and they 
would be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days 
hence. It is said " These all continued with one accord 
in prayer and supplication." This waiting together, with 
one accord, and entreating the Lord in earnest prayer, 
was followed by a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit, 
and a fulfillment of the promise that had been given 

Not long after the day of Pentecost, when some of the 
apostles were commanded not to preach the gospel of 
Jesus Christ any more, they met together with the church, 
and again with one accord, offered up earnest petitions 
unto the Lord. " And when they had prayed, the place 
was shaken where they were assembled together; and 
they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake 


164 The Secret of Prayer 

the word of God with boldness. And the multitude of 
them that believed were of one heart and of one soul." 
Acts 4:31, 32. 

When king Herod had stretched forth his hand to 
vex certain of the church, and had killed James, the 
brother of John, with the sword, and was about to take 
the life of Peter, also, having cast him into prison, there 
was quite an anxiety on the part of the church in his 
behalf. " But prayer was made without ceasing of the 
church unto God for him." The time had come when 
Herod was about to take Peter from the prison to have 
him executed. " The same night Peter was sleeping 
between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the 
keepers before the door kept the prison. And, behold, 
the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined 
in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and 
raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains 
fell off from his hands. And the angel said unto him, 
Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. 
And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, 
and follow me. And he went out, and followed him; 
and wist not that it was true which was done by the 
angel; but thought he saw a vision. When they were 
past the first and the second ward, they came unto the 
iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to 
them of his own accord : and they went out, and passed 
on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed 
from him." Acts 12:6-10. This was a wonderful man- 
ifestation of the power of God, but what caused it? 
Over in another part of the city, the church had gathered 
together and were in earnest prayer in his behalf. James 
having already been put to death, and they knowing that 
the time was now at hand for the taking of Peter's life 
which would likely be followed by a similar action with 

The Prayer of the Church 165 

others of the apostles and followers of Jesus, the 
matter had become a serious one with them. No 
doubt, there was much weeping and earnest pleading, 
not only in behalf of Peter, but for the protection 
of others also. 

In the meantime, Peter was making his way along the 
streets of the city, and was just awakening to a realiza- 
tion of the fact that it was not a dream. He said to him- 
self : " Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent 
his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of 
Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the 
Jews." After considering the matter, he made his way to 
the house of Mary, " where many were gathered together 
praying." Upon knocking at the door, and responding to 
the call within, his voice was recognized, but they could 
scarcely believe that it was Peter, and said, " It is his 
angel. But Peter continued knocking: and when they 
had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished." 
Although they had been praying for his deliverance, it 
did not come in the way that they had been expecting. 
No doubt, they had in mind that God would over-rule 
the matter until morning, and when he would be brought 
before the rulers, the Lord would change their minds and 
cause them to be lenient toward him, and set him free, 
but for him to come while they were yet praying was 
beyond their expectations. " But he, beckoning unto 
them with the hand to hold their peace, declared 
unto them how the Lord had brought him out of 
the prison." 

The Lord not only heard and answered prayer in the 
days of the apostles, but even to this day honors the 
prayer of faith, when offered by his children. We read in 
Hebrews 13:8, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and 
today and for ever." 

166 The Secret of Prayer 

A few years ago, a young man of our acquaintance 
was arrested in the State of Colorado, on a charge of 
which he constantly declared his innocence. Neverthe- 
less, the court adjudged him guilty, and he was sent to 
the state prison for a term of twelve years. After he had 
been there for several months, he wrote to me, after 
which I visited him in the prison. Upon my arrival at 
the prison, inquiry was made as to the moral standing of 
the young man. The officials stated that he was one of 
the finest young men in the penitentiary, and that prison 
was no place for such a man. Efforts were made to 
secure his release, but of no avail. 

A few more months passed by, when one day we 
received a letter from him, asking us to have prayer in 
his behalf, saying, " I wish you would pray that the 
Lord may deliver me out of this awful hole." We were 
then living at Grand Junction, Michigan, more than a 
thousand miles away. That evening the church met 
together at their regular prayer-meeting; the letter was 
read, and earnest prayer offered in his behalf. A few 
days later, or just as soon as a letter could reach us, we 
received word from him, with the following statement: 
" I have been working in a large potato field ; was taken 
to Buena Vista, where I have more liberty." 

The Lord had answered prayer according to his 
request, and had delivered him out of the former prison. 
He had not asked prayer for his perfect deliverance from 

Nearly six months later, we received another letter 
from him, saying, " I believe that if the good people at 
your place will pray again for me, the Lord will let me 
out of prison." Again, it was the night for our regular 
prayer-meeting. I read the letter publicly, and everyone 
in the house joined in earnest prayer for the Lord to 

The Prayer of the Church 167 

deliver this young man out of prison. After we arose 
from our knees, one brother said, " I know God hears 
and answers prayer." He then began to leap and shout 
and to declare the work accomplished, and there was a 
general outbreak of praises to God, by those present. 
We knew nothing of the outlook for his deliverance, 
only that the authorities had before refused to grant 
pardon. The next morning, after prayer was offered, we 
received a telegram, as follows : " I have just received 
my liberty." This was gratifying to us, knowing that 
it was in direct answer to our prayer. 

We have not met this young man since that time, but 
have had correspondence with him, and he has since 
married a respectable woman and they have a family of 

Citations could be given of many wonderful manifesta- 
tions of the power of God in these last days, but there 
is one in particular that it will, no doubt, be proper to 
mention here, although it has been published in many 
papers and books. In the month of June, 1883, at a 
camp-meeting near Bangor, Michigan, Sister Emma 
Miller, of Battle Creek, Michigan, who had been totally 
blind for nearly three years, came to the meeting with 
the expectation of receiving her sight in answer to 
prayer. A day was appointed for fasting and prayer 
in her behalf. The church came together with one 
accord, sending up earnest petitions to the Lord for the 
restoration of her sight. Late in the afternoon, while 
they were still waiting upon the Lord in earnest prayer 
in her behalf, her eyes suddenly opened, and her sight 
was perfectly restored, insomuch that she was able to 
walk out into the bright sunlight without any discomfort. 
Previous to this time she had been obliged to remain in 
a dark room or have her eyes heavily bandaged. She 

168 The Secret of Prayer 

picked up the New Testament, and read from it before 
the congregation. This was an occasion of much praise 
and thanksgiving on the part of the church, because the 
Lord had heard and answered their prayers. 


Jesus, Our Example 

JESUS is our example in time of temptation, trial, 
persecution and prayer. It is said of him that he 
was tempted in all points like as we are. It is 
impossible for us to realize the great temptations through 
which he passed while in the wilderness being tempted 
of the devil. He remained faithful and resisted the 
devil, and met him with the Word of God, saying, " It 
is written." He would then tell the devil what was 
written, finally giving him a positive rebuke, which 
caused the evil one to flee from him. In I Corinthians 
10:13, the apostle says, "There hath no temptation 
taken you but such as is common to man: but God is 
faithful, and will not suffer you to be tempted above that 
ye are able ; but will with the temptation also make a way 
to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." Considering 
this promise, and taking Jesus as our example, we are 
given an inspiration to go through the greatest tempta- 
tions and trials. In the time of deepest trial, he felt the 
weakness of his humanity, but would flee to the Father in 
prayer and would receive strength and whatever help was 
needed. In like manner, we can receive strength even in 
time of trial, remembering the words of Peter, " Though 
now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through 
manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being 
much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it 


170 The Secret of Prayer 

be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour 
and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ : whom having 
not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, 
yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full 
of glory." i Peter i : 6-8. 

It was in the Garden of Gethsemane that Jesus passed 
through the greatest trial of his life. Knowing that the 
time had come for him to pass through the great ordeal 
of the crusifixion, his humanity shrank from it. He went 
aside from his disciples and there with the greatest 
earnestness that man ever prayed, he implored the 
father. Just before leaving the disciples, he had said, 
" Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. . . . My 
soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye 
here, and watch with me. And he went a little farther, 
and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, 
if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: neverthe- 
less not as I will, but as thou wilt." Matthew 26 : 36-39. 

" He went away again the second time and prayed, 
saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from 
me, except I drink it, thy will be done." 

" And he left them, and went away again, and prayed 
the third time, saying the same words." 

He prayed so earnestly that his sweat was, as it were, 
great drops of blood falling down to the ground, and 
Luke says : 

" And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, 
strengthening him." 

One beautiful thought in connection with his prayer 
in this time of great trial was his submission to the will 
of the Father, knowing that it would cost him his life 
unless the Father saw fit to change matters, but he 
humbly submitted, and said, " Not as I will, but as thou 
wilt." What a lesson to us ! 

Jesus, Our Example 171 

His mission into the world was to redeem fallen men, 
by giving his life; and while he felt the weakness of 
humanity, as we feel it, nevertheless he was submissive 
and ready to fulfill the mission, even at the cost of his 
life. There are now many times when people fail to 
receive the needed help from the Lord because of a lack 
of perfect submission to his will. They are not willing 
to go through the necessary suffering in order to accom- 
plish the proper end. " Christ also suffered for us, leav- 
ing us an example, that ye should follow his steps : who 
did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who, 
when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suf- 
fered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him 
that judgeth righteously." i Peter 2 : 21-23. 

He instructed his followers what to do in case of 
persecution, and said, " Blessed are ye, when men shall 
revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner 
of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice and be 
exceeding glad : for great is your reward in heaven : for 
so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." 
Matthew 5:11, 12. 

When he was persecuted, and even hanged upon the 
cross by his enemies, he said, " Father, forgive them ; 
for they know not what they do." He was ever ready to 
forgive his enemies, and taught that we should do the 
same. He said, " Forgive, if ye have ought against any : 
that your Father also, which is in heaven may forgive 
your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will 
your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses." 
Mark 1 1 : 25, 26. 

In the seventeenth chapter of John, he sets us an 
example of praying for others. After offering an earnest 
petition for his disciples, he said, " Neither pray I for 
these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me 

172 The Secret of Prayer 

through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, 
Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one 
in us : that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." 
This prayer includes us. It is one of the longest prayers 
that Jesus offered, of which we have a record. 

At another time we find him at the place where 
Larzarus was buried, and just before commanding the 
dead man to come forth from the tomb, Jesus lifted his 
eyes toward heaven, and said "Father, I thank thee that 
thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me 
always." In like manner we should come to the Lord 
with our petitions, with that confidence that the Lord 
hears us, as it is then that we can appropriate the 
promise of i John 5 : 14, 15. 

Answer Promised to the Meek 

FOR people to exhibit meekness in their lives, is to 
show forth gentleness, kindness, and to not be 
easily provoked or irritated, but given to for- 
bearance under injuries. Jesus represented himself as 
being meek, when he said, " Take my yoke upon you, 
and learn of me ; for I am meek and lowly in heart : and 
ye shall find rest unto your souls." Matthew 1 1 : 29. 

The prophets of old were examples of meekness. 
James says, " Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have 
spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suf- 
fering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them 
happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of 
Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord 
is very pitiful, and of tender mercy." James 5: 10, 11. 

" Blessed are the meek : for they shall inherit the 
earth." Matthew 5 : 5. 

" The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord." 
Isaiah 29 : 19. 

" Do all things without murmurings and disputings : 
that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, 
without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse 
nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world." 
Philippinans 2:14, 15. "With all lowliness and meek- 
ness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love." 
Ephesians 4 : 2. 


174 The Secret of Prayer 

" Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which 
are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meek- 
ness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted." 
Galatians 6: i. 

" The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long- 
suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temper- 
ance ; against such there is no law." Galatians 5 : 22, 23. 

" For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for 
your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye 
do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is 
acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called : 
because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an 
example, that ye should follow his steps." 1 Peter 
2 : 20, 21. 

There are times, when in the midst of persecution, 
opposition and oppression, a manifestation of the spirit 
of meekness will be the means of winning the persecutors 
and oppressors to the ways of truth and righteousness, 
or will cause the oppressions to cease ; and will bring the 
blessings of God down upon the one who walks in the 
way of meekness and humility. 

Answer Promised to the Penitent 

THE thief on the cross found favor with God in his 
dying hour. He said, " Lord, remember me when 
thou comest into thy kingdom." 
And Jesus said unto him, " Verily I say unto thee, 
Today shalt thou be with me in paradise." Luke 
23 : 42, 43. 

A beautiful illustration of favor granted to the peni- 
tent is given in the fifteenth chapter of Luke, where the 
prodigal son had wandered away from home and spent 
all that he had in riotous living. " And when he came 
to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my 
father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish 
with hunger ! I will arise and go to my father, and will 
say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and 
before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy 
son : make me as one of thy hired servants." This poor 
prodigal realized his wretched condition, and make a 
decision to go to his father, acknowledge his wrongs, 
confess his sins, and ask forgiveness. Upon his return, 
with all his heart, he began to make his confessions, but 
had scarcely begun when his father gave him to under- 
stand that he was received as his son, and all the past 
forgiven. This is given us to show the great mercy and 
compassion which the Lord extends to sinners who will 
turn from their sins and follow him. 


176 The Secret of Prayer 

In the Word of God are many precious promises to 
encourage those who have grieved the Lord, or sinned 
against him, and not only is he able, but is also ready and 
willing to fulfill his promises, whenever the conditions 
are met by those in need of help. 

" Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye 
upon him while he is near : let the wicked forsake his 
way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts : and let him 
return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; 
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." Isaiah 

55 : 6, 7- 

" Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt 
surely die ; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is 
lawful and right; if the wicked restore the pledge, give 
again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, 
without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he 
shall not die. None of his sins that he hath committed 
shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which 
is lawful and right ; he shall surely live." Ezekiel 

Jesus said, " For if ye forgive men their trespasses, 
your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye 
forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father 
forgive your trespasses." Matthew 6: 14, 15. 

" Then Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized 
every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the 
remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the 
Holy Ghost." Acts 2 : 38. 

" The word which God sent unto the children of 
Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ : (He is Lord of 
all:) . . . To him give all the prophets witness, that 
through his name whosoever believeth in him shall re- 
ceive remission of sins." Acts 10 : 36, 43. 

" Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, 

Answer Promised to the Penitent 177 

that through this man is preached unto you the forgive- 
ness of sins: and by him all that believe are justified 
from all things, from which ye could not be justified by 
the law of Moses." Acts 13 : 38, 39. 

" I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their 
sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." 
Hebrews 8 : 12. 

"If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have 
fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus 
Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. . . . If we 
confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our 
sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 
John 1 : 7, 9. 


Promise in Time of Adversity 

IT was under adverse circumstances that Jonah offered 
up his petitions to God. " Then Jonah prayed 
unto the Lord his God out of the fish's belly." 
Jonah 2:1. The Lord had compassion upon him, when 
he acknowledged to the heathen sailors his wrong, and 
was willing to be cast overboard at the mercy of the Lord. 
He was in a position where his only hope was in his will- 
ingness to obey God, and he was well aware of the great 
mercy of God extended to those who were willing and 

It was also under adverse circumstances that Stephen 
prayed the Lord to forgive the people when they were 
stoning him to death, and asked the Lord to receive his 
spirit, knowing that there was abundant entrance for him 
into the regions of the blessed. 

When Jesus was going about from place to place 
preaching, he was persecuted and opposed on every hand. 
The Pharisees said of him, " We know that this man is 
a sinner." At one time he was called a "wine bibber," 
and at another time was accused of being possessed of a 
devil. Notwithstanding this, he was faithful in preach- 
ing the gospel, and in his devotion to the Father. 

It ofttimes happens that we cannot understand why 
circumstances should be as they are. Sometimes, viewing 
the matter from a human standpoint, there is no way of 


Promise in Time of Adversity 179 

understanding how God can get any glory out of existing 
circumstances. Nevertheless, there is a promise to the 
faithful that all will be well. 

An incident of this kind occurred a few years ago, 
and at the time I was unable to know just how the Lord 
would make it work out to his glory and to my good. 
I met with a serious accident, and immediately the 
promise in Romans 8 : 28 flashed into my mind, and I 
said, " The Bible says, ' All things work together for 
good to them that love God,' and no doubt it is so, 
because the Bible says so, but I cannot see where there 
can be any good come from this. However, I suppose it 
will come, for I love God." Although the accident 
caused much suffering, it was about three days before I 
realized the good results which followed. At the end 
of that time, in answer to prayer, the Lord completely 
healed me, which caused a man and his wife to fully yield 
themselves to God, and so filled him with faith that he 
was enabled to receive complete healing of a serious 
disease of his body. It was then that I was enabled to 
understand the fulfillment of Romans 8 : 28, in this par- 
ticular experience through which I had just been per- 
mitted to pass, and I felt well repaid for all my suffering. 
There are many precious promises in the Word of 
God to those who are in trouble, and who feel that 
almost everything is against them. In times when the 
trials and temptations seem great, we can read, " Blessed 
is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is 
tried, he shall receive the crown of Life, which the Lord 
hath promised to them that love him." James 1 : 12. 


Answer Delayed 

WHEN people come to the Lord in prayer, 
desiring to know his will concerning the 
burden of their hearts, or to have some 
special thing accomplished, it is then that there is an 
anxiety if the requests are not granted. It frequently 
happens, however, that the Lord in his wisdom sees best 
to delay the answer. There are various reasons for so 
doing. Sometimes, if an immediate answer was given, 
it would thwart his plan regarding other things, and 
would not be best for the one offering the petition. There 
are also times when there are lessons to be learned, and 
some inquiry of the Lord as to why the answer was 
withheld would bring a revelation to the mind, which 
would prove much more profitable than a direct answer 
to the petition offered. Again, there may be hindrances 
in the way, which can be removed by the one offering the 
prayer, or it might be necessary that certain things be 
accomplished before the hindrances could be removed. 
There are given in the Bible some instances which 
should encourage us to patiently wait upon the Lord. 
Among such, may be mentioned the case of Naaman, the 
leper. He, having learned of the prophet in Israel, 
through the instrumentality of a little Jewish maid, with 
great pomp proceeded to the place in Israel where he 
could meet this Man of God. After his arrival, with 


Answer Delayed 181 

caravan and gifts, he sent a servant to the prophet to 
make known the purpose of his visit. Naaman was very 
much displeased with his reception. He, being a man 
of high rank, supposed that the prophet would at least 
make some great display in view of his position. Elisha, 
no doubt knew that Naaman had a proud heart and 
needed to learn the lesson of humility and obedience, also, 
the lesson of simplicity. " And Elisha sent a messenger 
unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, 
and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be 
clean." This displeased Naaman. He considered that 
he should be treated with greater honor. He said, 
" Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and 
stand, and call on the name of the Lord, his God, and 
strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. 
Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, 
better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in 
them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a 
rage." 2 Kings 5: 11, 12. It was not without consider- 
able effort that the servants of Naanan were able to 
prevail upon his to manifest the spirit of humility and 
be obedient to the words of the prophet. They said to 
him : " If the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, 
wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, 
when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean ? " Knowing 
that it was his only hope of recovery, as his disease was 
beyond human skill to recover, Naaman decided to do as 
the prophet had said. " Then went he down, and dipped 
himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of 
the man of God : and his flesh came again like unto the 
flesh of a little child, and he was clean." 

Had Naaman gone to one of the rivers of Damascus, 
would he have been healed? No. Had he gone to the 
River Jordan and washed himself once, and refused to 

182 The Secret of Prayer 

wash again, the result would have been a failure. After 
he had washed the sixth time, there was still no change; 
he was yet a leper. Suppose he had said, " I have now 
washed six times, and there is no sign of healing, no 
indications of receiving any help, therefore, I will not 
wash again." What would have been the result? A 
complete failure. He did not stop with the sixth wash- 
ing, but had decided in his heart that he would obey the 
entire command of the prophet. He had turned from 
his haughty ways and decided to comply in humble 
obedience, and it was after he had fully met the required 
conditions that the power of God was manifest, and he 
was delivered from the leprosy and made well. 

He returned to bestow gifts upon the prophet, be- 
cause of the wonderful work wrought in his body, 
but the prophet utterly refused to receive anything 
whatever, as it was a work wrought by the power of God. 
This instance is one of great benefit to us, as it teaches 
the necessity of humility and obedience, and also of sim- 
plicity and faith. 

The ten lepers, which came to Jesus for healing, were 
not instantly healed while in his presence, as were many 
others, of which the Word of God gives record, but were 
told to go and show themselves unto the priest, accord- 
ing to the requirements of the law at that time. As they 
went their way they were cleansed of the leprosy. Their 
faith was manifest in their obedience to his word. 

In the twenty-second Psalm, we read how David was in 
great distress, and was mightily calling upon the Lord 
for help. He made some earnest appeals to the Lord, 
and with them made promises. He promised the Lord 
that if he would deliver him, he would declare the name 
of the Lord unto his brethren and praise him in the midst 
of the congregation. It was not long after this until 

Answer Delayed 183 

David was made to realize the wonderful goodness of 
God, of which he gives expression in the twenty-third 

A beautiful lesson of faith and trust is given in the 
account of the Syrophenician woman, in the fifteenth 
chapter of Matthew. Her daughter was grievously vexed 
with a devil, and she came to Jesus, asking him to have 
mercy on her in behalf of her daughter, but Jesus " an- 
swered her not a word." His disciples then came and 
wanted him to send her away, but still she pressed her 
case, and he said, " I am not sent but unto the lost sheep, 
of the house of Israel." He meant by this that he was 
sent to the Jews, and she was not a Jew. Still she did 
not give up the struggle, but came and worshiped him, 
saying, " Lord, help me." He gave her another answer, 
but still she insisted that she must have help. " Then 
Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy 
faith : be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daugh- 
ter was made whole from that very hour." Had she not 
persisted in having a favorable answer, she never would 
have received the help for her daughter. 

Many fail in receiving help from God, because he does 
not answer at the time of their first appeal. In con- 
nection with this, we should not forget how Daniel plead 
before the Lord for three full weeks before receiving 
an answer. When the answer came, the Lord gave 
Daniel to understand that he had heard his petition from 
the first day that he began to call upon him. If the 
thing for which you are petitioning the Lord is not out 
of harmony with his word, and his name can be glorified 
in granting a favorable answer, do not become discour-. 
aged and throw down the shield of faith, and throw away 
your armor, but press the battle to the gates, as it were, 
where by faith you can enter in victoriously. Throw 

184 The Secret of Prayer 

away all doubts, and give no place for discouragement. 
See to it that your consecration is fully in line with the 
will of God, and the Lord will honor your faith; and 
even should there be a delay in sending the answer, you 
will receive great benefit in the end and feel greatly re- 
warded for your faithfulness. 


Answer Withheld 

OPPOSITION and oppression may beset us on 
every hand, and there may be times when, from 
a human standpoint, it would seem that it would 
be more to the glory of God for certain things to be 
removed, or accomplished, when God, in his wisdom, 
has planned otherwise. Again, petitions are offered, 
which are answered by what has already been decreed, 
and then there are instances where an answer is given, 
not according to the request made, but one that proves 
to be satisfactory to the petitioner, who is subject to the 
will of God. 

When Jesus was praying in the garden of Gethsemane, 
that the Father might let the cup of suffering pass from 
him, if possible, nevertheless he said, " Not my will, but 
thine be done." Here the words of the answer of the 
Father are not recorded, but he sent an angel and 
strengthened Jesus for the ordeal through which he was 
to pass ; and it was so plain to Jesus that it was the will 
of the Father for him to go through the suffering that he 
submitted and was ready to go forth in accordance there- 
with and meet whatever might befall him. 

Another instance of withholding the answer to prayer, 
was that where Paul prayed three times concerning a 
certain matter, and even when the answer did come it 
was not in accordance with his petition, but it was satis- 


186 The Secret of Prayer 

factory to Paul, when it came to him in these words, 
" My grace is sufficient." Paul could go forth with con- 
fidence, realizing that through whatever suffering he 
might have to pass, the Lord would give him sufficient 
grace, insomuch that he could go through with victory 
and glorify the name of the Lord. 

At one time Moses asked that he might be permitted 
to cross over Jordan into the land of Canaan, but the 
Lord answered his petition by taking him up into the 
mountain, where he could look over into the land and get 
a view of the beautiful country. He was so well satis- 
fied that the Lord was directing in the matter that he 
called Joshua, and delivered a message of encouragement 
to him, as the future leader of the children of Israel, 
assuring him that the Lord would be his helper so long 
as he walked uprightly before him, and was obedient in 
all things. 

There is such a thing as " praying through," as some 
express it, until the will of God is known regarding the 
petition offered. Many people fail and come short of 
knowing the will of God, because of a lack of importunity 
or coming to him in obedience and humility of heart, 
with the proper simplicity. 


Signs Asked For 

AMONG the people of God of olden times, there 
were those who could trust God with unwaver- 
ing faith, and when the Lord spoke to them, no 
matter how great the responsibility, they were ready for 
action. Again, there were those, whom God had chosen 
for a special work, who felt it necessary that they have 
some special evidence that God would stand by them in 
time of testing, or in other words, that he would do for 
them that which he had promised to do. They felt it nec- 
essary that God verify his word beforehand by some par- 
ticular sign, as an additional evidence of his faithfulness 
to them. 

When Gideon was called of the Lord to go and deliver 
the Israelites out of the hand of the Midianites, it seemed 
too great an undertaking for him. He felt his inability, 
and replied, " Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? 
behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the 
least in my father's house. And the Lord said unto him, 
Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the 
Midianites as one man. And he said unto him, If now 
I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign 
that thou talkest with me." The Lord was good enough 
to give Gideon a sign, and yet he was not satisfied, but 
asked for another sign, saying, " If thou wilt save Israel 
by mine hand, as thou hast said, Behold I will put a fleece 


188 The Secret of Prayer 

of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, 
and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know 
that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said. 
And it was so; for he rose up early on the morrow, and 
thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of 
the fleece, a bowl full of water. And Gideon said unto 
God, let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will 
speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this 
once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the 
fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew. And 
God did so that night; for it was dry upon the fleece 
only, and there was dew on all the ground." Judges 
6 : 36-40. After all this had taken place, Gideon decided 
to obey the Lord, and found that the Lord was with 
him, as he had promised, and enabled him to put the 
Midianites to flight. 

The twentieth chapter of second Kings gives a record 
of the prayer of King Hezekiah, when he was at the 
point of death, and had received the message that he 
would die. His prayer was as follows: 

" I beseech thee, O Lord, remember now how I have 
walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and 
have done that which is good in thy sight." 

" And Hezekiah wept sore." 

Immediately the Lord sent the messenger back to the 
king, and said unto him, " Tell Hezekiah the captain of 
my people, Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy 
father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: 
behold, I will heal thee : on the third day thou shalt go up 
unto the house of the Lord. And I will add unto thy 
days fifteen years." It will be noticed that the Lord 
here said that he heard the prayer of Hezekiah ; that he 
saw his tears, and said he would heal him. These three 
things are worthy of notice, and yet as positively as the 

Signs Asked For 189 

matter was laid before Hezekiah, he still wanted a sign 
from the Lord. 

" And Hezekiah said unto Isaiah, What shall be the 
sign that the Lord shall heal me, and that I shall go up 
into the house of the Lord the third day? " The prophet 
gave him to understand that the Lord would do that 
which he had promised. 

" And Isaiah said, This sign shalt thou have of the 
Lord, that the Lord will do the thing that he hath spoken : 
shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, or go back ten 
degrees ? " Isaiah was willing to have the integrity of the 
Lord tested even by a sign. Hezekiah requested that 
the dial go back ten degrees, and the prophet called upon 
the Lord; and the shadow was brought backward ten 

While it was unnecessary for Hezekiah to require such 
a thing of the Lord, yet the Lord granted it unto him 
through the prophet. 

We read in the first chapter of Hebrews that God, who 
" At sundry times and in divers manners spake in time 
past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last 
days spoken unto us by his Son." We have access to 
the Father through Jesus Christ, and we have many 
precious promises. We also read 1 that the " word of God 
cannot be broken." Notwithstanding all this, there are 
people in this day and age of the world, who are still 
calling on God for some special sign that he will fulfill 
his word. 

We once knew of a woman who, when she desired 
anything special from the Lord, would close her eyes, 
open the Bible, and place her ringer upon the page, ex- 
pecting the Lord to direct her finger to a passage of 
Scripture that would serve as a sign to her as to whether 
or not the Lord would grant her petition. People who 

190 The Secret of Prayer 

follow such a method, ofttimes place the finger upon a 
passage that has no bearing whatever upon the case in 
question, or perhaps is in direct opposition to the answer 
desired. Therefore, they are inclined to close the book, 
and also their eyes, and repeat the performance until 
they do find a Scripture that will give a satisfactory 
answer. This is only guess work, and not always by the 
direction of the Holy Spirit. The woman mentioned 
was very much afflicted, having suffered for some time, 
and was somewhat in doubt as to whether she would 
recover from her sickness. While considering the mat- 
ter, she decided to resort to her old method of finding 
out the will of God, and as her finger came down on the 
sacred page, she read the following words: "And the 
woman died, also." This was not a satisfactory answer, 
so she hastily repeated the act, hoping to receive a favor- 
able indication of her recovery. 

It is true that many times people in sore distress and 
great perplexity as to just what is the will of God con- 
cerning certain matters can open their Bibles, and per- 
haps the first passage of Scripture they see will be one 
of great comfort to them. It may even be that the Spirit 
of the Lord has directed them to it for their encourage- 
ment, but to get into the habit of opening the Bible at 
random and placing the finger upon a certain passage of 
Scripture is not to be depended upon as being the leading 
of the Holy Spirit. 

There are many precious promises given in the Word 
of God, which cannot be gainsaid. Under such circum- 
stances, there is no necessity of asking the Lord for a 
further sign. 

Hypocritical Prayers 

THE Pharisees of olden times were, many of them, 
hypocrites, and ofttimes put on an air of sanctity 
and made great pretensions of religious fervency, 
offering long prayers in public places, to be seen and 
heard of men. Jesus said of them, " Ye hypocrites, well 
did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth 
nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with 
their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain 
they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the com- 
mandments of men." Matthew 15 : 7-9. 

" Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things 
which I say ? " Luke 6 : 46. 

Those who offer up prayers, and intend to continue 
in sin, need not hope to have power with God, nor re- 
ceive favor in his sight in answer to their petitions. Such 
people must turn from their hypocrisy, repent of their 
sins, and the Lord will then hear and answer their 
prayers. The hypocrite, the egotistical person, no matter 
how great the profession of piety and religion, is a 
stranger to the meek and lowly Jesus and knows nothing 
of the sweetness of communion with him. There is no 
fellowship of the Spirit, and the words of such persons 
are only cold and formal, even though accompanied by 
shouting and spoken in a loud tone of voice, with much 
zeal and great fervency. 


192 The Secret of Prayer 

The instruction which Jesus gave, was " When thou 
prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are : for they 
love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the cor- 
ners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily, 
I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when 
thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast 
shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret ; and 
thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee 
openly." Matthew 6:5, 6. 

By this he did not mean that prayer should not be 
offered except in the secret chamber, but that our prayers 
should be offered in such a manner as to have our com- 
munion entirely with the Lord and not for the purpose 
of being heard of men. 


Vain Repetitions 

THERE is quite a difference between the repeating 
of an earnest, fervent petition to the Lord, which 
is productive of good results, and that of vain 
repetitions, which are only empty sayings, worthless and 
meaningless. It is true that while Jesus was in the gar- 
den of Gethsemane he prayed three times, repeating the 
same words, but these words were full of meaning, and 
accompanied by a perfect submission to the Father. 
There may be much earnestness manifest in the repeti- 
tion of prayers that are vain, or in other words, are 
empty and worthless, and the time spent in saying them 
over is wasted. It is not communion with God. The one 
who is in the habit of making vain repetitions in prayer, 
does not expect an answer, except it be after the close 
of this life. 

The Mohammedans are very faithful in repeating their 
prayers at least five times a day, and the prayers are said 
as many times more as their time for devotion will permit, 
and with most of these prayers they are not expecting 
any help for the present time. In like manner the Roman 
Catholics are very faithful in counting the beads of the 
Rosary, and repeating the Ave Maria and the Pater- 

The people of Tibet believe that every time they turn 
their prayer wheel, with its inscribed prayers, or when 


194 The Secret of Prayer 

their prayer flags are wafted by the wind, prayers ascend 
in their behalf. Sometimes this is done with considerable 
zeal, and at other times it is done in a mechanical way, 
with little or no concern. 

There are many similar modes of offering petitions to 
God, not only among the heathen and uncivilized, but in 
the more enlightened countries the repetitions are similar 
to that of the Pharisee and avail nothing. 

Jesus said, " But when ye pray, use not vain repeti- 
tions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall 
be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore 
like unto them : for your Father knoweth what things ye 
have need of, before ye ask him." Matthew 6 : 7, 8. 

A prayer is of no avail, and amounts to nothing, except 
it be a prayer of faith. One must have confidence in 
God, and believe that he hears and will do that which is 
best to do under the circumstances. He must not only 
be considered a God of wisdom, power and ability, but 
a God of love and compassion; one in whom the utmost 
confidence can be placed, and who is touched with the 
feeling of our infirmities and desires to lend a helping 
hand in time of need. On the other hand, the one who 
offers the prayer must not only realize his own helpless- 
ness without the help of the Lord, but must know that 
with his help power is given to cause the enemy to flee, 
and that the necessary aid and strength will be granted 
in time of need. 

With this conception of the matter, one is not apt to 
fall into the rut of offering vain repetitions, instead of 
giving expression according to the desires of the heart. 

What to Say While at Prayer 

IT is in times of adversity and deep distress, or at the 
approach of a calamity and oppression that the 
reckless sinner and wayward child is inclined to call 
upon God for help. What to say, and, will he hear ? are 
matters of no little importance at such a time. The Word 
of the Lord now comes to remembrance, " Your sins 
have separated between you and your God." Here, the 
enemy of souls takes advantage of the opportunity, and 
suggests that it is useless to pray, as the Lord " heareth 
not sinners." In like manner, as Satan quoted Scripture 
to Jesus, when he was undergoing great temptations in the 
wilderness, so will he now quote the sayings of the Lord 
to sinners, and those who are tried and tempted, misap- 
plying them to suit his purpose. In the Word of God, 
we find these words of encouragement to the sinner: 
" He that covereth his sins shall not prosper : but whoso 
confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." Prov- 
erbs 28 : 13. " Come now, and let us reason together, saith 
the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be 
as white as snow ; though they be red like crimson, they 
shall be as wool." Isaiah 1 : 18. " Come unto me all ye 
that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." 
Matthew 1 1 : 28. " If we confess our sins, he is faithful 
and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all 
unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9. By these words, the worst 


196 The Secret of Prayer 

sinners are made to realize that there is hope for their 
deliverance. A knowledge of this creates hope, but how 
to approach God, and what to say in order to gain his 
favor is a matter of weighty consideration. With the 
heart thus burdened, one is not apt to be in a mood to 
give expression in fluency of speech. 

When those wicked men, who crucified Jesus, were 
told of their sins, and were pricked to the heart, they said, 
"Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Peter told 
them there was hope for every one of them, but that they 
must repent of their sins. (Acts 2: 38.) 

It was when the publican realized the wretchedness 
of his condition that he offered a prayer in the following 
words: "God, be merciful to me a sinner," (Luke 
18: 13), and he was forgiven. 

The thief, at the hour of his death, with a repentant 
heart, called upon Jesus for help, saying, " Lord, remem- 
ber me when thou comest into thy kingdom." (Luke 
23 : 42.) That short fervent prayer was not turned aside 
unnoticed, but Jesus said to him, " Today shalt thou be 
with me in paradise." 

Just what to say when in prayer will depend much 
upon the place and circumstances. Communion with the 
Lord should be in such manner as to best express our 
need, or give vent to our feelings. There are times when 
a few words will be much more appropriate and effectual 
than would be a prayer of great length. 

A few years ago, while traveling through the state of 
Ohio, I was obliged to change cars at Bradford Junction. 
It was ten o'clock when the train left the station, and a 
few minutes later the conductor took my ticket, and I 
made myself comfortable for the night, first saying, 
"Lord, give me a safe journey." Soon I was sound 
asleep. Nearly three hours later, upon awakening, I 

What to Say While at Prayer 197 

heard some of the passengers conversing about a wreck. 
After listening to their conversation for a time, I con- 
cluded that ours or some other train, on the same road, 
had met with an accident. I arose, crossed the aisle, and 
seating myself beside one of the passengers, asked, 
"Where was the wreck?" He burst forth in laughter, 
saying, " Man, it never waked you up ? " They had a laugh 
at my expense, and he then told me that our train had 
been wrecked and all in front of our coach derailed and 
thrown into a ditch, but that the wheels of our coach 
came within about two feet of the broken rail and 
stopped. The engineer blew the signal whistle for the 
wrecking train, which had come and taken our car back 
to the next town, nearly seven miles distant. All this 
happened without my knowledge. I told the man I had 
asked the Lord to give me a safe journey, and he said, 
" Well, he certainly did give you a safe journey." The 
prayer was one of a few words, but not forgotten by the 
Lord. I have traveled thousands of miles, in many coun- 
tries, but scarcely ever entered the cars without asking 
the Lord to give me a safe journey. I have passed the 
scene of many wrecks, but the Lord has always honored 
my prayer for protection. 

When coming to the Lord in prayer, one should come 
as to a loving earthly father, with the utmost confidence, 
and converse as with a familiar friend. Let it be a heart 
to heart talk with the Lord. There will be times when 
the burden of your heart will be principally concerning 
yourself and pertaining to your own personal needs. 
Your needs may be so numerous that you hardly know 
where to begin with your petitions and supplications. 
Times of testing may come, and there may be presented 
puzzling questions, about which you feel you must know 
the will of God ; temptations, accompanied by discourage- 

198 The Secret of Prayer 

ments, and opposition and oppression come against you, 
while persecutions are heaped upon you. There may be 
no one to whom you can confide the secrets or burden of 
your heart, and while wading through deep waters, and 
the " enemy comes in like a flood," it is then that you 
must learn to wait upon the Lord in confidence, realiz- 
ing your safety and security in him, knowing that at such 
times the Spirit of the Lord lifts up a standard against 

There will be times, even with those who are accus- 
tomed to prayer, when the burden of the soul will be so 
great that scarcely a word can be uttered; power to ex- 
press the feelings of the heart has seemingly vanished, 
and only groanings can be uttered. It is then that the 
words of the apostle are realized, wherein he says, " Like- 
wise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities : for we know 
not what we should pray for as we ought: but the 
Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings 
which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the 
hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, be- 
cause he maketh intercession for the saints according to 
the will of God." Romans 8 : 26-27. 

At such times, it may seem impossible to know just 
what is the will of God, or what is the best course to 
pursue, but if we learn to wait patiently upon him, with 
a determination to be in perfect submission to his will, 
whatever it may be, he will make intercession " according 
to the will of God," even though one does not know his 
will, thus the unuttered prayer properly reaches the 
throne. "And we know that all things work together 
for good to them that love God." 

There may be times when we are unable to see wherein 
any good can result from the present happenings and cir- 
cumstances, but so sure as we fully trust and believe, 

What to Say While at Prayer 199 

there will be a fulfillment of this promise to our entire 
satisfaction. It may not be immediate, but it will come. 
There may, and there may not be a special assurance 
at the time of prayer that all will be well, but at such 
times it is well to remember the words of the Psalmist, 
David, " Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him." 
Psalms 37 : 7. " Delight thyself also in the Lord ; and 
he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit 
thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall 
bring it to pass." Psalms 37:4, 5. 

In communing with the Lord, our words should not all 
be expressed in the form of a petition or supplication, 
but the prayer should be well seasoned with expressions 
of adoration, praise and thanksgiving, extolling his name 
by telling him of his greatness, and ability, rendering unto 
him due honor and praise. 

In the 104th Psalm, the writer gives a wonderful 
tribute of praise, beginning with the following words: 
" Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art 
very great ; thou art clothed with honour and majesty." 

When there are a number of people assembled together 
for special prayer, they must be of one accord, that is, 
all in harmony, and praying for the same thing, in order 
to prevail with the Lord. If only one should pray aloud, 
it should be with fervency, and directly concerning the 
thing desired, that all may be able to say amen, or sanc- 
tion in their thoughts and unite their faith with the one 
who is offering the petition. 

It is well to note the procedure of the apostles (Acts 
4:23-30), when sorely pressed and threatened by their 
persecutors. They gathered together with those who 
were faithful followers of Jesus, and talked over the mat- 
ter, until all understood the critical situation. " They lifted 
up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, 

200 The Secret of Prayer 

thou are God, which hast made heaven and earth, and 
the sea, and all that in them is." Thus they continued 
referring the Lord to his greatness, and the oppressions 
that had been against him and his cause during the past ; 
then they came directly to the point, or matter under con- 
sideration, concerning their present needs, saying, " Now, 
Lord, behold their threatenings : and grant unto thy 
servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, 
by stretching forth thine hand to heal ; and that signs and 
wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child 

They prayed " with one accord." One was not pray- 
ing for spiritual help, another for daily food, and others 
that the Lord might save sinners, but all joined in ex- 
tolling the name of the Lord, and later in calling for the 
thing needed. As they prayed, they believed, and their 
petition was not passed by unheeded. 

At one time, when the people of Israel had wandered 
from the ways of the Lord, the prophet Daniel became 
much burdened for their return to the ways of righteous- 
ness, and he began to seek the Lord by prayer and sup- 
plication. He says, " And I prayed unto the Lord my 
God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the 
great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy 
to them that love him, and to them that keep his com- 
mandments ; We have sinned, and have committed 
iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even 
by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments : 
neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the proph- 
ets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, 
and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. . . . 
Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy ser- 
vant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine 
upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake. 

What to Say While at Prayer 201 

my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, 
and behold our desolations, and the city which is called 
by thy name: for we do not present our supplications 
before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great 
mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, 
hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my 
God : for thy city and thy people are called by thy name." 
Daniel 9:4-6, 17-19. 

There are some points in this prayer worthy of con- 
sideration. The people had sinned, and Daniel confessed 
it to the Lord. First, he referred to the greatness of the 
Lord, and to his goodness and great mercies, and then 
very earnestly implored forgiveness. Did the Lord heed 
his cry? Yes. An immediate answer came, as Daniel 
said, " Whiles I was speaking, and praying, and con- 
fessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and pre- 
senting my supplication." 

In order to be effectual, prayer must be something 
more than mere words. It must be the sincere desire 
of the heart. The supplication must be in faith, believing 
that he hears and answers. The prayer free from doubts 
is the one that reaches the throne and brings an answer. 
Make use of the confidence you have in him, and exercise 
your faith by believing that he grants your petition. 
Learn a lesson from the words of Jesus at the tomb of 
Lazarus, when he " lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, 

1 thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that 
thou hearest me always." John 11:41, 42. Then, with 
confidence, he commanded Lararus to come forth, and he 
came at the command. 

The prayer must be suited to the place and occasion, 
according to the existing circumstances. There may be 
times when one may continue in communion with the 
Lord a great length of time, while at another time it 

202 The Secret of Prayer 

would be an impossibility or quite out of place to 
do so. 

When Peter undertook to walk upon the water, he saw 
the great waves of the sea, and was afraid, and began 
to sink. He had no time for preliminaries in prayer — 
no time to extol the name of the Lord by referring him 
to his greatness, abilities, goodness, and mercies; but 
had to suit his words to the occasion, and condense them 
as much as possible, and pray to the point, telling just 
what he desired of the Lord. It had to be expressed on 
the impulse of the moment, and he cried out : " Lord, 
save me." (Matthew 14:30.) The prayer was effect- 
ual. Jesus stretched forth his hand and caught him, 
but gave him to understand that there was no necessity 
of his giving way to doubts. He said, " O thou of little 
faith, wherefore didst thou doubt ? " 

Notwithstanding what has been said as to how to pray, 
and how others have prayed, some will say, " But what 
shall I say when I pray ? " There is no fixed rule. Begin 
to talk to God as you would to your best friend. Be 
natural, that is, pray your own prayers, and do not try to 
pray the prayers of someone else. Sometimes you may 
feel like beginning by telling the Lord of his goodness 
to you and others, for giving health, strength, food, cloth- 
ing, and many other things that he has provided, and 
even in the darkest hour and greatest trial, you can thank 
him that things are no worse than they really are at the 
present time. At other times, you may feel like begin- 
ning with a petition, telling all about your needs, both 
temporal and spiritual. When you have done this, you 
must believe that he hears, and at this point it is well to 
appropriate 1 John 5 : 14, 15 to your prayers. 

Some have procured printed prayers, or have written 
some of their own, and committed them to memory, that 

What to Say While at Prayer 203 

they might be able to repeat them. Others repeat only 
the Lord's prayer as given in Matthew 6:9-15. While 
these may, to some extent, be helpful in devotional 
exercises, also as a drill for the mind, yet they do not 
bring answers, nor do they fulfill the longing desires of 
the heart as does an earnest original petition, even though 
the latter may not be so well expressed or clothed in as 
good language. 

The American child, from the time it is old enough to 
bow at its mother's knee, is taught to say the following 
little prayer, before retiring for the night : 

" Now I lay me down to sleep, 
And pray the Lord my soul to keep. 
If I should die before I wake, 
I pray the Lord my soul to take." 

This is a commendable prayer, but nevertheless, from 
their infancy, children should be encouraged to offer 
original prayers, asking for little things they need, and 
that the Lord help those who are dear to them; and 
should also be taught to expect an answer. This will be 
a means of developing their faith, as well as a confidence 
in God and in their own ability to do good. 

Bread, butter, potatoes, and such like, sometimes make 
a good palatable meal, but if served at each meal from 
day to day, and week to week, with no variety, one 
would feel the need of a change, as something more is 
required in order to satisfy the demands of the system. 
Just so with our spiritual meals and communion with the 
Lord. A prayer may be offered that is very acceptable 
for the time and occasion, and may afterwards be oft 
repeated, but to continue repeating the same words, 
under all circumstances, the prayer becomes stale, and 
causes the relish for communion with the Lord to vanish. 

204 The Secret of Prayer 

If we thus drift into a mere form and habit, the spiritual 
power, sacredness and blessedness of devotion are lost. 
A person may admire the prayers of others, and may 
take note of their zeal and use of words, and profit 
thereby, but after all the blessedness of true devotion to 
God comes through one's own individuality and original- 
ity. Be natural, be yourself, and do not try to be some- 
one else while talking to God. Make up your own 
prayers in plain, simple language, and forget your sur- 
roundings, in accordance with the situation, sufficiently 
to have an earnest, unbroken communion with him. In 
this way it will soon be possible to reach a point where 
you will not lack for words to say, and you will also 
know better how to enter into the secret of his presence 
and enjoy the riches of his grace. 


The Results 

AT one time the Lord made himself manifest in a 
peculiar manner to Solomon, and said, " Ask 
what I shall give thee." This caused Solomon 
to feel his insignificance, and to humble himself. 
Although he was king, he said, " I am but a little child : 
I know not how to go out or come in." Seeing now 
open before him the great store-house of good things, 
where he was privileged to make a requisition according 
to his desires, there was nothing to prevent his asking for 
riches and having an abundance of this world's goods, 
but he felt humble in the sight of God, and realized his 
responsibilities as a servant of the Almighty. In such an 
attitude of submission before God, what could he ask 
other than that which would best fit him for the service 
he was to render unto the Lord? He did not call for 
the riches and pleasures of this world, but asked for 
wisdom and understanding, saying, " Give therefore thy 
servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that 
I may discern between good and bad." 

His petition pleased the Lord, insomuch that as a 
result he not only gave Solomon those things he desired, 
but said to him " I have given thee that which thou hast 
not asked, both riches and honor." 

A humble heart, with a spirit of perfect submission to 
the will of God, and with a desire above all things to 


206 The Secret of Prayer 

please him, and to do that which would enable one to 
render the most efficient service for him, is sure to result 
in great good and bring satisfaction to the soul. 

The Lord said, " If my people, which are called by 
my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek 
my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I 
hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will 
heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7 : 14. Therefore, " Let 
us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith," 
(Hebrews 10: 22) and the Lord will honor our faith and 
efforts to serve him, and will also enable us to enjoy the 
blessings which he has promised to the faithful. 

Whatever the issue may be, take it to the Lord in 
prayer, and " no good thing will he withhold from them 
that walk uprightly.'.' Psalms 84: 11. 


Receiving the Reward 

THERE is something beautiful about the life of the 
Christian, which is unknown to the world. His 
communion with the Lord is a source of 
pleasure, and brings to the soul happiness beyond expres- 
sion. In times of sorrow and grief, trouble or danger, 
he finds a place of security — a refuge; and realizes the 
truthfulness of the words of the Psalmist, when he said : 
" He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High 
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." Psalms 
91 : 1. There is not only comfort, joy and blessings 
along the pathway in this life, as a result of the prayers 
offered, and a reward for the devotional life here on 
earth, but there is that consolation of a hope of the life 
beyond, where there shall be never-ending bliss. 

The life here is just what we make it. It lies within 
our power, by the help of the Lord, to enjoy the sweet- 
ness of heaven in our souls amidst the turmoils and 
sorrows round about us, no matter which way the winds 
of oppression may blow. Though at times dark clouds 
may hover near, yet the devoted Christian learns to 
patiently wait on him who is mighty to deliver, knowing 
that the sun is still shining behind the cloud, and will 
soon break forth in all its splendor. 

Are you desiring rich blessings from the Lord? Then 
step into the pathway where such are to be had in abun- 


208 The Secret of Prayer 

dance. This is done by measuring your life by the Word 
of God, or, in other words, by a life of obedience to his 
will. It comes about through prayer — believing prayer. 
Jesus said, " Ask, and it shall be given you ; seek, and 
ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." 
Luke 11:9. The Apostle gives these words of conso- 
lation : " He that spared not his own Son, but delivered 
him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely 
give us all things ? " Romans 8 : 32. 

Do not hesitate to ask for your share of that which 
rightfully belongs to you. The doubter generally fails to 
praise the Lord for blessings of the past, and for the 
many good things of the present, therefore, has but little 
hope of the future, and is thus robbed of the glory while 
he lives a life of fear fulness. Give no place to doubts, 
but " Casting all your care upon him ; for he careth for 
you." 1 Peter 5 : 7. 

" What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe 
that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." Mark 
11:24. It is the prayer of faith that counts. Press 
forward, cast aside all restraints, and be free in the Lord. 
Decide that you will now have the benefits and blessings 
that belong to the Christian in this life, and, with such 
a decision and determination, the hindrances to prevail- 
ing prayer will vanish ; and by faith the eternal reward 
will be in sight. / 

As this life draws to a close, the heavenly prize, in all 
its beauty and splendor, will be presented to our view, 
and the changing scenes of earth will give place to those 
more resplendent. 

As the time of departure draws near, the faithful can 
say : " I have fought a good fight, I have finished my 
.course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid 
up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, 

Receiving the Reward 209 

the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not 
to me only, but unto all them also that love his appear- 
ing." 2 Timothy 4 : 7, 8. 

" Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a 
crown of life." Revelation 2: 10. 

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